Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve 2007

Wow - now I have done it - signed up for Blog365 which is a continuation of NaBloPoMo - a post every day of the year 2008 instead of just the month of November. But maybe it will keep me going.

Today has been a bright sunny day, but DDHH and I are staying home tonight. The forecast is for snow and wind so we will be settling in with a movie and a glass of something bubbly and going to bed early, because tomorrow is the last day to hunt Bambi and the last chance to add to the larder for this year.

EDIT ok scrap the bottle of bubbly - there is only bubbly cherry juice in the house anyway and DDHH has decided he is going hunting New Years Day since it is the last chance this season. Oh well I will watch a movie and we will still go to bed early.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

What a beautiful morning we woke up too. The sky was that clear delicate blue of a cold winter day, and there was a coating of crystalline white frost on all the branches. The moon must have been enjoying the view as it was taking its time going to bed.

We had a wonderful Christmas day yesterday. Our family was together sharing the day. Opening presents, cooking Chinese for dinner and putting together puzzles from Christmas past.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Venison at last

There is at last a large Doe hanging in our garage so we will have red meat to eat this year. But I will be glad when deer hunting season is over. It was my responsibility this morning to take care of the "dire wolf" pup before going to work, because DDHH was out trying to add to the larder. I had Duncan all tucked into his outdoor run and was about to climb into the car when I discovered he had made a pile. I did not want to leave THAT there all day so I gathered a shovel and headed back out to the run to clean it up. The "wolf" of course escaped. He raced in huge circles first on one side of the run and yard and then on the other while I stood and yelled "here here HERE!". He finally returned when he had relieved some of his pent up energy and dashed through the gate back into the run. Then jumped up and down as I locked the gate as if to say "I still am a puppy at seven months and NEED to run". He was happy to return in his own good time, and he never went far. I even made it to work on time, and even beat everyone else there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mr. Magic

Just came back in from walking Duncan in the snow. I wished that #1 daughter was here with her camera. The temperature is just about at freezing so the snow is really good packing. I threw snow balls for him which of course he had a terrible time finding. As he searched and finally put his nose in the right spot I called "that's it, good boy, bring it here" and he would grab a mouth full of snow and run back with it. We did that over and over.

He also loves apples. He jumps up and picks them off the trees and then throws them around like balls, even scooping his nose under them in the snow and flipping them in the air. since the snow was such good packing I thought I would make a small snowman while puppy was playing with his apple. That didn't work. As soon as I had a ball big enough to start rolling, and even get a couple of rolls on some of the tries, he would come running and jump right on my snow ball, demolishing it. Then he went back to his apple. I tried several times and finally had to give up.

He also spent time making life miserable for the meadow voles, tracking their tunnels with his head completely under the snow and then digging out their hay stacks and eating them. When the romp degenerated into eating rabbit droppings I decided it was time to come inside. To bad there were no pictures of his antics. What a pleasure to watch a dog having fun in the snow and be able to participate in part of it.

almost winter

Finally got the rest of the lights on the Christmas tree last night with the help of DDHH. The Frasier Fir has been standing in the Sun Room for 10 days and FINALLY is lighted.

Today DDHH is still out there chasing the wily Bambi. He has yet to see any deer but there are LOTS of tracks and signs. Apparently they are only moving at night and settle down to sleep during the day.

DDHH leaves very early in the morning so when Duncan needs his morning walk it is still dark out. DDHH and Duncan often walk along the hedge row out to the street corner where there is one of those Sodium Iodide street lights which cast a very orange light. #1 Daughter, Tandaina, is a photographer by avocation. She has discovered that she loves the orange light that these street lights cast on snow. After the storm that dumped a pretty good load of snow on us last Sunday she found herself out taking more snow pictures. I am always proud of her results. If you follow here links you will find her photo album and more winter pictures here.

My winter pictures are limited to daylight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


a quiet day here. i hardly remember what i did today. lets see watered the frasier fir, finished reading a book, then i made a list and did some shopping on line and before i knew it it was lunch time. so i made some lunch and then it was time to make some dinner. seems i was on the computer most of the day and got nothing worth remembering done, other than fiddling with my digital picture folders. and here i am now just putting a few words down. oh i do remember that i did take the dog out long enough for my coat to get wet and at some point in the day filled the bird feeder. those hardly count as memorable. oh yes and now i remember i paid a bill too. where has the day gone and how did it get so wasted? think i'll go read a book.

Monday, December 10, 2007


The travel log is at last done, the pressure is off. The trip pictures are posted in my Picasa web album, even though I might add some.

The "Christmas Concert" was a success at Church yesterday and a live Frasier Fir is standing in the sun room earlier than we have ever had a tree up. It is going to stand there and settle in for a while before I get around to decorating it.

Since our daughters are grown and no longer live at home I have thoughts of not putting a tree up. But then my extensive collection of hand blown glass ornaments would stay in their box in the crawl space. A lot of people collect "things" bells, teacups, figurines, thimbles, salt and pepper shakers, bird figurines, Hummel figurines, license plates, ad infinitum. I have never thought of myself as a collector though I have way too much stuff. when my children were young I collected children's books especially those illustrated by Paul Gobel or Ann Ophelia Dowden. My mother collected little bird figurines of all sorts, emphasis on the word little. She would bring them back from foreign countries as her mementos when other people might bring back spoons, or plates or ashtrays. It occurred to me last night that I collect had blown glass Christmas ornaments. Ergo I HAVE to put up a tree even if I only hang the glass ornaments, or they sit in the crawlspace and never see the light of day. I guess that is part of the reason I never take the tree down until around Valentines day. Thank goodness Frasier Firs keep their needles and look good for months.

And now a less frenetic count down to Christmas can continue. A time to contemplate Advent and live into the season more completely. Gads that hardly sounds like my words. They sound more like Tand. A time to spend a more preparatory Advent. Working leisurely at preparing for Christmas. Not just the stuff we do like making lists, planning menus, shopping, cleaning house, and gradually putting up the Christmas decorations, but also trying to remember to pray more and read something more contemplative including my Bible. And get some exercise so I don't blow up like a blimp eating all the goodies. Hmm Lent and Advent are preparatory seasons, I should be resisting gluttony now too.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

From Greybull Wyoming to the top and then home.

My pictures for this part of the trip are finally up here.

From the Beartooth Mountains in Montana we came south through Lovell and to Greybull where we stopped to take a look at an airfield with a large number of old airplanes parked. This was the home of a company that used to be one of the largest owners of planes used for firefighting, crop dusting and seeding. And imagine my delight to discover my name - oh no it is their name emblazoned on the tail of a PB4Y-2, the Navy version of a B-24 parked right next to the fence. Hawkins and Powers is no longer in business due to two tragic accidents with C-130s during fire fighting chemical drops. Pictures of the airfield and all that is left of the collection is here. Oh Hawkins is my maiden name which made it a fun discovery.

From Greybull we continued up US 14 through Shell where there is an impressive waterfall and its deep narrow canyon of smooth rock walls (pictures in the US 14 photo album on Picasa) and up to the top of the north end of the Bighorn Mountains. Again we drove through undulating landscape that hardly looked like the tops of mountains. We found a place to camp at Tie Flume campground.
The story of how the camp ground got its name is fascinating. I am not good at dates, but during the building of the rail roads a flume (water flowing in a wood trough also used at grist mills and the like) was built by hand from this location all the way to Sheridan Wyoming to transport railroad ties which were cut from the forests on top of these mountains. What a feat. Tie Flume is a National Forest Campground with graveled parking spaces well away from your closest neighbor, good water from a pitcher pump well and acceptable pit toilets. This building had LED lights on them so they were easy to find in the dark. Unlike in the south the garbage cans here were heavy duty bear proof jobs with complicated mechanisms a bear could never get his big paws into even if he figured out what was needed. As we parked the "Silver Dog House" we could hear cattle bawling in the not too far distance. Driving the road into the campground we had to wait for cattle to get out of the way, we should have know, it was pretty obvious, that this campground was on an actively grazed open range. The cattle even wandered through camp. Our other camps had been on open range but the cattle were kept out in part by rail fencing plus we just happened to be there at a time when the immediate areas were not actively grazed. Mule Deer also habituated the Tie Flume camp ground. This was our least favorite camp site but since the cattle slept at night they were quiet then. We missed having a stream running right by the site but it was heavily covered with Lodgepole pine.

From here we explored US 14A without the trailer on the day before we were to collect our three month old puppy, Duncan. Who is now seven months old and banging my elbow with his nose as I try to type this. We traveled west on US 14A. The part of 14A that descends to the Basin below has long 10% slopes which we had been advised to stay off of it with our trailer. It is the direct way to Lovell where we needed to go to get Duncan the tomorrow and we want to know just how bad this road is. Most of it is level road either on top of the mountain or in the Bighorn Basin. It is a beautiful drive. East of the Medicine Wheel we found a patch of snow and some wildflowers blooming around it. There was a parking area here with a foot trial west to an old abandoned mine. East of the road a horse trail through the flowers lead to the top of a steep slope. We chose east through the flowers and climbed high above the road on a great hill side of grazed alpine meadow. There are pictures in the Picasa. From the top of the hill we looked east to miles of pastured meadow rolling into the distance and to the west we could see into the Bighorm Basin. Below the road but still on top of the mountain, a flock of sheep gathered around a copse of conifers in the distance. A pair of horses with halters, so not wild as one tourist excitedly declared, grazed just below the road. They likely belonged to the shepherds.

From here we continued on to the Medicine Wheel. An FAA installation is also located off the same road on top of Medicine Mountain. From its high location it can peek through a gap in the mountains to the west to control the communications of aircraft over a great area. The Medicine Wheel is located on top of a Medicine Mountain. Access is from a parking lot a mile and a half off the 14A and then by foot another mile and a half up a road that is accessible to handicapped and American Indians by vehicle if requested.

The Medicine Wheel is an ancient holy site of the American Indians who come from all over the country to pray and make offerings. Open to the public all visitors are urged to walk around the circle to the left and to respect the site as you would any holy site. American Indians have priority and may request to have the site closed to the public for a ceremony with no advance notice.

My pictures of the Medicine Wheel do not do it justice. It helps to have an advantage of greater height than standing on the ground. As we walked a storm was approaching from the north and made our stay a bit shorter than I would have liked and not very relaxed. I would like to visit on a day when the weather was not trying to chase us away. I walked around the wheel twice once taking pictures the second time trying to get a feel of the place. Though it was interesting I unfortunately got no personal feeling of a Spiritual presence. Clearly others had.

The storm finally chased us back down the mile and a half road with thunder crashing over our heads and the lightening blessedly farther away down the valley behind us. We waited out part of the storm in the little building erected for the Forest Service volunteers, at the parking lot, along with other visitors and then made a dash for the truck. We sat and watched as snow and then hail fell on us, praying that there was no large hail where the "Silver Dog House" was parked. As the storm passed we started down the road toward US 14A and the trial run down to Lovell.

The drive was quite an adventure. Much of it in second gear to keep our speed down so we would not have to use a lot of braking for the sharp switch backs. At one spot there were tire marks on the pavement and signs of impact with the wall of the mountain. We passed a number of 18 wheelers coming up the road so we figured if they can do it so can we - course they have big diesel engines and we have a small gas engine. We had learned much by listening to lots of people who had driven this before. With low gear and brakes applied only in short hard bursts not over long distances they were only warm at brake check stops as we went down. We did stop at the Brake Cooling Turnout on the map and spent time there because the view was great. There was one wide place in the road on the outside which was protected by high fences where we also stopped to check the brakes and enjoy the view. The driver had little other opportunity to enjoy the scenery as his concentration had to be on the road. Coming back up we passed several vehicles whose brakes smelled way too hot.

We spent only a little time in the basin before the return back the way we came. Ate dinner in an unfamiliar fast food place and Discovered the most divine candy shop. Queen Bee candy company makes candy from the local honey. The irrigated fields in the Basin produce a huge crop of alfalfa hay and the accompanying honey. The trip back up definitely had a lot less pucker power, but it would be a real job to haul the Silver Dog House up. Not this trip thankfully. However driving the route again the next day to pick up Duncan was going to be OK.

The next day we collected Duncan from the desert. That evening his crate was siting on the ground beside the steps into the trailer. When it started to get dark he just went in the crate and put himself to bed. What a surprise. We were told we could spoil him and let him ride on our laps all the way home if we wanted, to aid bonding. He preferred to ride in his crate. He turned out to be a great traveler, no complaint, no accidents. His only problem was that on the first night on the top of the mountain the poor pup nearly froze. He was used to 100 degree temps during the day and certainly a lot warmer than the 37* it fell to that night. He did not have a blanket to curl up with and I could hear him moving around in his crate during the night. In the morning he was shivering pretty hard so I wrapped him up in one of Husbands coats and hugged him until he warmed up.

The next morning we headed White One pulling the Silver Dog House east for home. We had three LONG days on the road. The first night we stayed at a city park at Medora, North Dakota just outside of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The next night was at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Superior Wisconsin, right next to the Burlington Northern track - that was noisy! The third was back in our friends yard in the U.P. There Duncan learned to manage a long flight of steps and had the shock of his life. Duncan is a desert raised dog and got to go for a swim in Lake Michigan. Well he just dabbled. It was a bit much for him. A month later when we returned to Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore he discovered he LOVED the water. From the U.P home was the shortest day's drive of the return trip.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

What a sunrise

Wow the color was amazing - unfortunately I took this through a window so not all is in focus but I could not resist posting it anyway because of the amazing color.

The first day of Advent and we have a brilliant sunrise - not Advent colors but God's colors.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I did it

30 posts in 30 days

I may not be able to get a fancy button from NaBloPoMo to put on my blog but I did it.


I was going to just write about how this is November 30 and the last day of NaBloPoMo and unless I counted wrong I did it and posted every day of the month.

Instead my daughter posted a Blog on Advent here that rather blew me away and has me rethinking what I am going to do for Christmas this year. It started many years ago when my brother gave to the Heifer Project in our names instead of giving us gifts that we didn't really need. I have since given donations to The Nature Conservancy in his honor for projects I thought he would appreciate. Or to my favorite local Conservancy here in Leelanau County Michigan.

So although no one else is likely to read this Blog post. I will echo Tandaina's sentiments and those she quoted

"Christmas has become obscene" and I vow to spend more Lenten time rethinking the useless little dodads I am inclined to give family members just because it is expected of me. Just maybe I will take my brother's and daughter's examples and words to heart this Christmas. It is time I set an example especially for our God Sons.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Almost to the end of November

One more post after this one, to make it to the end of NoBloPoMo or whatever I have been striving to achieve with a blog post every day of the month. It has been a challenge sometimes. I work late tonight so this one is going to be a quickie.

It is a cold blowy day here and DDHH is out in the woods again trying to bring home the Venison. He has had a very disappointing hunt. His spot which in past years has presented large numbers of deer walking by every day has offered almost none. He has seen two deer, neither offering a good shot or possible shot.

So instead of a long post finishing the travel log I searched my photo library and offer up a couple of pictures for today. Here is a Junco by my feeder and a bit of summer promise on this cold blustery day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


forgot to post - watched a movie instead
Jump out of bed
run upstairs
boot up the computer
akk no glasses cant see what I am doing


whew made it

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Travel Log Continued - not quite finished.

I don't know about you but I am getting tired of writing this thing. I should finish it though.

When I last left this project we were in the southern Bighorhn Mountains of northern Wyoming. The Bighorns run north and south at about the middle of Wyoming and just slightly up into Montana. There are two highways that cross them from east to west. In the south US 16 leaves Buffalo Wyoming and runs over the peaks and down the other side to Ten Sleeps and then into the Bighorn Basin. This was where we first attempted towing in the mountains. I have previous posts about camping at Middle Fork Campground in the Bighorn National Forest and the pictures are here.

There will be more about the northern route through the Bighorns, US 14 and US 14A when we return to the Bighorns at the northern, steeper end of the range.

On leaving the southern part of the mountains we traveled down to Ten sleep and then paralleled the mountains north to Grey Bull where where we headed west through the Bighorn Basin here on US 14 headed for Cody. At Grey Bull there is a large collection of old WWII aircraft mostly bombers and tankers that were until recently used for fire fighting. Again we were down at low enough altitude for it to be hot. Husband wanted to get to some mountains in Montana but most of them were a long way to the west and north, far from where we were to pick Duncan up in about 10 days. It was suggested to us by a couple we met, who were also camping in an Airstream at Middle Fork, that the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum in Cody Wyoming was worth a couple of days time. Then we could go straight up US 212 into the Beartooth mountains and into Montana. This US 212 is the same highway we took across the Indian reservation in South Dakota.

We found a full hookup campground within walking distance of the museum and settled in for a couple of days. We spent a day and a half in the museum, did several loads of laundry, went shopping at the local Wal-Mart, and took time to drive back east to Lovell to visit Duncan just a week before we were to pick him up. In Lovell we found the Queen Bee candy company. They make the most divine honey praline candy and organic chocolate bon-bons. All organic and made from the Bighorn basin honey. Much of the basin is irrigated to raise Alfalfa hay and as a result lots of wonderful alfalfa honey. The bee hives are the oddest arrangement I have ever seen. We kept seeing them as we drove through the Basin and were completely puzzled by them until we finally stopped and took a closer look at them. Sure enough my eventual suspicions were verified by seeing honey bees flying in and out of the open boxes.

If you look at a map of Wyoming and Montana, Yellowstone National Park jumps out at you. Hard up against the east side of Yellowstone are the Beartooth Mountains. US 212 runs through Red Lodge over the Beartooth Pass and then down the other side and into the east entrance of Yellowstone Park. U.S. 212 (pictures here) has been written about as the most beautiful highway in America. It was beautiful and a good bit scary to drive in parts. That was the farthest west we ventured this year, to the Beartooth West summit at 10,547 feet. Then we turned around and went back to our campground at Greenough Lake (pictures here). We stayed from August 1 - 5. This is the only place we met bears. One came into camp a couple of times. One night he visited us and stood up on both sides of "White One" to take a look in. Thankfully he only walked past the trailer. There are strictly enforced guidelines for campers in place to prevent the invitation of bears and the possibility of their habituation to people. "A FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR" were signs all over the campgrounds. We were told that two had been shot earlier in the summer because they had become habituated to invading campgrounds and breaking into cabins. Like the Bighorn Mountains these mountains also had Alpine Meadow tops that we walked upon but here there were more mountains visible with rocky peaks, more like what you think of when you think of western mountains. From the summit we could look west into the Yellowstone. And like Middle Fork Campground in the Bighorns we had a very nice river running through the campground behind the campsite.

From the campground at Greenough Lake we drove 8 miles up the valley on a "road" that paralleled US 212 part way, but along beside the busy river. It was little better than a two track though amazingly heavily used. Much of it was more rocks than dirt. It ended at a large improved parking lot which was at the foot of a walking trail up the mountain to a pair of small fishing lakes. We then spent three hours climbing up that trail but never reached the lakes. Even so we had wonderful vistas looking back down the valley and climbed to where the trail crossed the river on a lovely foot bridge. Here again the hand labor involved in hauling and building is to be commended. There are pictures of this trail also in the Beartooth album.

Our next stop was the last National Forest Campground of this month long trip. The northern Bighorns, Medicine Circle, picking up Duncan, and the return home will be the last installment of this travel log. I have yet to create the album for the Cody Museum and the Northern Bighorns.

Monday, November 26, 2007



Sunday, November 25, 2007

Travel log continues.

This is where I left you the last time. We had just taken a walk up the valley to explore the road that ran through camp, and continued to a wooded ridge top where we could look down on a cattle trough. We also had the revelation that the Elk we were seeking were not having digestion problems. All the large "elk" pies were indeed cow pies and we were on open range - DOH we were no longer in Michigan we still needed to think "out west".

On another day we took "White One" exploring and found the road that lead back to that same water trough. Now instead of exploring in a valley we were on the ridge above. The views were those mountain top views that will never become mundane to me.

Another day we went exploring for a dispersed camping site and drove across my favorite stretch of road. All along the fence line were flocks of Mountain Blue Birds, my first sighting of these little pieces of azure sky in their feathered forms. There were Mule or Black Tailed deer everywhere. Not the flighty nervous types like our eastern White Tails. These deer stood beside the road and watched us go by. We spotted a Pronghorn or two and a large flock of Crows.

I specially love the tops of the mountains we visited. Though I might call myself a tree hugger in a different sense of the usual term I loved the mountain scenery above tree line. you can see for miles either to other mountains or just across these alpine meadows that undulated against the sky. It is hard to describe in words the feeling of these places. I love the Northern Hardwood forests of Michigan and the Big Lakes and the dunes that shoulder up against them. Michigan is not flat, it also undulates very much like the prairies and the alpine meadows but their undulations are hidden by the dense forest growth. The mountains, especially these alpine meadows have a sense of "distance"? - I do not know the word or words that describe a sensation I have never felt anywhere else. Somehow maybe altitude, even when you are not looking down but across, creates that sense of awe and space that seems to go on forever.

There are more pictures on my Picasa Album.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I was having a terrible time thinking of something to write for today - two days after Thanksgiving - so I was just poking around in my old photos and came across some pictures of family gatherings. These are of our immediate family and of DDHH's family. My only remaining family is a brother in Missouri. When I married into this family it was huge by my standards. Husband's Father's family consisted of 9 brothers and sisters and all their children and grandchildren. We were of a "mature" age when we married and most of the cousins of our generation already had children.

Now there are only the two youngest siblings of my Father-In-Law still living. One lives near enough to see her several times a year at family gatherings, the other is 1/2 the country away and not in good health so we have not seen him in a number of years. I guess that means we should be going to him instead of expecting him to come to us.

I remember being so thankful for this large family when I married into it. They were a large welcoming clan for someone who had grown up with very little family. Growing up I had one living grandparent and no Aunts and Uncles. My father had three first cousins that we called Aunt and Uncle out of respect for their age. But they lived far away and we were lucky to see them once a year at best. There were some children - what does that make them to me, maybe second cousins once removed or something like that? They were much older than my brother and I and had children our ages. I have since lost track off all of them and their offspring.

Now looking at recent family pictures we who were the younger generation are now the older generation. A full generation has nearly passed in the twinkling of an eye. What good memories I have of that generation, the Greatest Generation they were, some veterans of WWII, with stories to tell. The Oldest sister was an Army Nurse who served behind the lines landing at Dunkirk shortly after D Day. The middle brother nearest in age to my Father-In-Law was a reconnaissance pilot flying in both theaters and then stayed in the Air Force after the war. He flew everything from P-38s to all the bombers including the B-17 and B-29, and ended his career holding altitude records in the U-2. One brother served in the Navy. The youngest sister was a school teacher who idolized her oldest sister. One sister married a dentist. The oldest brother was a fine finish carpenter. My Father-In-Law could fix anything by just sitting with a cup of coffee and thinking about it for a while. He was a gifted Tool Maker who refused to be without work. During one strike he took Mom all the way to the other side of the continent. The first day in California he walked out the door with his tool box and came back in the evening after a full day of work at a job he stayed with until the strike was over and they could go home.

I did not know all of the brothers and sisters. Some had died before I met DDHH and some we did not often see. As with all families, large and small there is some unhappiness. But I am thankful for that large family I married into and for those cousins that we still see at different family gatherings. Our immediate family is extended also because DDHH is one of four siblings, three of whom live close to home in the same county. And we are doubly blessed because three of our collective five children live here too.

Here is DDHH holding his Sister's granddaughter.

Here is DDHH's father's youngest Sister who with her brother are the last two of the "older" generation.

And I have a picture of the three girls that are part of our "collective" children, which I mentioned above, but I will not post it unless they say it is ok - so I may add it later.

So two days after Thanksgiving I am still thinking of the blessings of a large extended family.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday?

Not me. You will not find me shopping the day after Thanksgiving unless it is on line from the comfort of my Internet connection.

After the snow and cold rain of yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day. I played with my camera in the showy yard and the dog played in the snow. I made a leisurely job of baking a batch of butter-egg-rolls, picked up the clutter on the kitchen counters, rehung some pictures and crosses on the kitchen and Living room walls, edited some pictures on my computer, and baked a pumpkin custard.

I should be continuing my travel log. but I will instead upload, tonight, another set of pictures to my Picasa web album.

So for today here are a few of the pictures I took today in the cold, snowy, sun.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

We woke to SNOW on everything this morning. It was a shock at first even though it had beed predicted but it sure is pretty.

Duncan loved the snow. He ran in circles and then nipped at the snow with his front teeth.

This is fun I am at daughter's house, both daughters are cooking while I am playing with daughter #1's Mac and DDHH is playing on her PC. Quite a treat that we can both be on line at the same time and it is hight speed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

Not getting much done today but fussing around with my Picasa web albums. It is cold and raining and I am not even looking forward to going riding.

I think Duncan is enjoying his day inside the house instead of stuck in the run. He is following me around. It is very hard to take pictures of him because as soon as you put a camera up he wants to know what it is and has to investigate.

There he finally decided to stay put for a short lie down. So here is Duncan at six month and about 10 days on a rainy November day.

Here is Duncan about a month ago on a sunny October day in his run. Actually it was Lady's run built originally for her and then her 1/2 sister Magic joined her two years later. Now we have Duncan - and we call him Mr Magic because he looks a lot like her. But we are finding Goldens or maybe just dogs are a lot alike. We see Magic and Lady behavior appearing more and more. DeJavous.

so here is today's post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I don't know how she does it

My daughter, Tandaina was saying that she had so much to do and so little time. She writes a lot, seems to be able to read a good deal, meditate and pray, and works full time. Plus had time for church things, goes riding and takes pictures sometimes. I don't know how she does it.

I write a little, and read almost nothing, and only work part time. I do church stuff, go riding and take a few pictures. And yet she gets so much more done than I. Can it be that she has high speed internet and I have a very slow modem on dial up???

Or maybe she wasted less time just poking around on the internet and playing solitaire.

Oh well I have to give up trying to keep up with a daughter on fire and 32 years younger than I - opps I told how old I was when she was born. So does that me older than dirt? heheeh

Today was a not unpleasant, mostly gray, day with some sun and really pleasant temperatures for a ramble outside around the yard with camera in hand. Even though it is almost Thanksgiving there is still a lot of color in the yard. And just a touch of sun will accent the softer hues.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thinking of one another

I don't often drink the coffee at church coffee hour because usually there is only powdered creamer - NOT the same thing as even liquid soy creamer. Yesterday there was a carton of 1/2 and 1/2 sitting by the coffee pot. Hooray! I enjoyed that cup of coffee with cream because the coffee is good coffee. When I went in search of the gal that had provided the treats for coffee hour in order to thank her for the cream she said "oh yes - I remembered Uluwene likes the real thing". It is the small things we do for one another that make our church family very special.

Course for this lady thinking of others comes naturally. She and her husband have adopted 6 kids from the same family, and it has not been a picnic. These kids were very much special needs kids, smart but damaged by their abusive natural parents. Oh yes and then a couple of years ago they took on another little boy from another abusive situation. All of these children from families that truly were neighbors - they lived on the same street. The children used to come to this family and spent
more and more time with them, including regularly attending church, until they first became foster children and then were adopted.

Thank the Lord for loving hearts.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Last Sunday there was live music for worship. It was very energizing. Then for the last hymn they used one of my favorite songs from a contemporary praise album. I lost it. There I was, the dull old traditionalist who wants hymns from the old traditional hymnal incorporated into our worship services, rocking back and forth and GASP, dare I admit, actually raising one arm and - oh groan, blush - waving it around. What a spectical I made of myself right there in the front row.

And to top it off at bell choir practice the next day it was publicly commented on by one of the worship committee members. How embarrassing - she had noticed my loss of control.

Later in the week I confessed my embarrassment to my daughter who would never raise even one hand a little bit in worship, and breathes Traditional Anglican Worship. Her unexpected response was to ask "why embarrassed?" "Let yourself be moved by worship as the soul leads. No reason to be embarrassed."

Then this morning I was determined to control myself - no shows from this "frozen chosen" Anglican in the front row. So I stood stock still, not even my usual gentle rocking to the rhythm. Ohh the treachery of my own eyes. I could not control the tears. I wept through the hymns.

My soul WILL sing and refuses to be held in abeyance.

Praise God.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This is an experiment to see what the difference is = Georgia
Lucida Grande
Which do I like best
hmmm what is Font?

I sort of like Trebuchet, if for no other reason because of the name - not sure it is spelled the same way but it at least reminds me of a Medieval siege engine that threw things over fortifications - wall of forts or castles.

Ha after research I am correct Trebuchet is a siege engine invented by the Chinese.
On second thought not such a good thing to be enamored with, though the physics of the thing was pretty amazing.

Ok well lets see what Verdana looks like and do a web search for this name. Just for the heck of it. Bah just a type face invented by an employee of Microsoft.

Those were not so different what does Lucida Grande look like - more delicate - Well what do you know this one is a font created for MAC OX - If I want to use this one I will have to watch out for the - - - what do you call this window I am typing in? It wants to switch back to Georgia today.

So the question becomes which is easier to read this Georgia looks a lot like the Lucida Grande - /shrug. Oh well I can switch depending on my mood.

and here is more drivel for NoBloPoMo today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The real thing, I think.

The real NoBloPoMo post for today, I think

Poor DDHH no Venison for the larder again today. His hunting spot became so crowded on this Friday afternoon that he has given up on the weekend. Tomorrow he goes to fix Tandaina's clothes dryer. The daughters have been coming to our house to do laundry for a couple of months now so that will be a welcome help.

I did get the pictures of the Bighorn basin posted in my Picasa Web album the other day, but it has been so long now since August that I am loosing track of just exactly where the pictures were taken. We traveled across and up and down the Bighorn basin several times. First from the southern Bighorn mountains north through Greybull then west and north across the valley to Cody Wyoming at the foot of the Beartooth mountains. We spent three days in Cody, visiting the Buffalo Bill Cody museum, making a trip back east without the "Silver Dog House" across the basin to visit Duncan the week before we picked him up, and doing laundry. Then we went north and west into Montana and the Beartooth Mountains where we stayed several days. Those pictures are yet to be uploaded. Then we returned from the north and down the east side of the basin to US 14 and up into the northern Bighorn mountains. There we would visit the Medicine Wheel and try the steep long slopes down US 14A without the trailer behind us. Back into Lovell to buy more of the wonderful honey candy from Queen Bee Candy Co. Then back up 14A to our camp. The next day, from there back down to Lovell to collect Duncan and back up to camp again. If it sounds convoluted it was but we were constantly unsure of our ability to haul the trailer up and down the steep slopes so part of the loops were a result of avoiding 14 A with the trailer. As a result I have lost track of where and when a lot of the pictures were taken.

Oh well. I have a general idea, I know Beartooth from Bighorn and basin from mountain top. To anyone else reading these posts it probably doesn't matter.

The travel log will continue - when I get to it.

For the future here is a peek of the top of the world in Montana.

Test post

I logged on here at 7:37 PM we will see how long it takes to post this with my slow connection.

arrgg I hate it when you are trying to correct spelling and the picture you just spent 10 minutes uploading disappears.

Ok the picture is back at 7:51 pm. I am not kidding that is how long it has taken me to write these few words and upload this picture twice.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

pant pant

With my dear deer hunting husband - hmmm my DDHH - new nickname - in the woods this morning I had to run the dog around the house - was good exercise - kept my heart rate up for about 1/2 an hour and got us both some exercise. We just ran rings around the house well ran and walked. but it worked.

This is probably all for today since I have to work from noon to 8:00 pm, and now I need to go grocery shopping - - - - - - - and this dial up connection is so slow it just makes me - ummm frustrated to the Nth degree what ever that means.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

opening day

My dear deer hunter is going hunting tomorrow morning. The first time he has been able to go on opening day in over 28 years. All other firearms openings he had to work. Funny thing, if you love the outdoors, and wildlife, and hunting, and want to work for a state game department, you don't get to hunt very much. This year is different. While I write this he is abed early. The alarm is set for 3:15 am. I will go back to bed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lake Huron

The best part of the "retreat" of which we attended only part of on Saturday was the location. It was at a church, I think maybe Methodist, retreat center. There was a large two story dorm building with a two story sitting room on the main floor. There was a gas fireplace and large windows that looked out over Lake Huron.

There was a dining hall which had also had a wall of glass looking out over the lake, and we met in the chapel which faced east, and had a large window over the Altar also looking out over the lake.

We were not able to attend the Friday night session of the retreat because we could not leave our puppy overnight and pets were not welcome. So we arrived for breakfast Saturday morning and participated - more watched and listened- to the Saturday events. Probably because we had missed the Friday night session I don't think we got a lot out of it.

The title was Spiritual Freedom Weekend. But I found it rather depressing. They were talking about spiritual Strongholds - mindsets and habits that we develop that control, dictate and influence our attitudes and behavior, oppress and discourage us, filter and color how we view or react to situations, circumstances, or people. We were handed a list of types of Strongholds with lists of habitual behaviors we were to check off. As one of the other retreat members said "mine is black" because so many were checked. Fr Jack kept saying don't become discouraged - - -but it was just a way of checking off all your bad habits - - - heck the list was depressing.

Oh well the lake was pretty and we enjoyed a couple of walks along the beach. And the food was good.

Monday, November 12, 2007


It is 10:00 PM and all is quiet.
A full day is done and morning comes early.
So this is all NaBloPoMo gets today
just so I have something to post
and don't miss one day.

Tomorrow is a new day that promises sun
so who would not rather be out in the garden
than racking one's brain for something to type.

If you think this is a poem
its not.

good night, sleep tight,
and don't let the bed bugs bite
stay out of hotels and motels.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


After having two full days away from home I find it really hard to keep up NaBloPoMo. So here is a couple of pictures from yesterday's church retreat on Lake Huron.

If I can figure out how to download a picture from my cell phone I might have one from a family 40th anniversary party we attended today.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good Morning

We are headed for a "retreat" that Fr. J is directing for the members of New Church. We are only going to the Saturday sessions because we have a baby dog to stay home with at night. So this is a post to be sure I don't miss todays NaBloPoMo if I am not able to post this evening.

Here is a taste of the Bighorm Mountains that are yet to come in my travel log, just to keep you waiting with baited breath for the next installment.

Friday, November 9, 2007


We attended the funeral of a co-worker's husband yesterday. He has been fighting cancer for two years and finally lost his battle to remain with us on Sunday night. This is the second Roman Catholic funeral I have attended. It was a very comfortable experience. The Roman service is so much like our Anglican service that I could hardly tell the difference. I was able participate with the most of the responses. We sang the psalm responsively, which was something I grew up doing and had not done in many years. I even knew the hymns and one of my favorite Communion hymns concluded the service.

Our home church is new, almost 3 years old now, and we meet in a rented office building. We sit on office type chairs and when the service is over the furniture can be moved around to set tables for a pot luck meal. To be in a dedicated sanctuary, a very beautiful one, to sit in a pew and have a kneeler to use when praying was very pleasant. We keep telling our selves and each other at New Church that "The Church is not the building" but oh how pleasant it was to worship in a beautiful, sanctified space, dedicated to Worship of our lord and Savior.

I was reminded by Tandaina at lunch today that she would give up any beautiful space for a loving church family, which we do have at New Church. So I need to put the "green eyed monster" of envy away and wait for God's time to provide us with a "Place of Our Own" if that is what God intends for us.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


As I looked out on the bird feeder this morning it seemed to be awash in a sea of small birds. Too numerous to count as they flowed over the feeder and piles of spilled seed on the ground. Flocks of Gold Finches in their pale winter plumage, and House Finches, the males with their raspberry colored heads and backs, mingled with plain female House Sparrows and males with their black bibs. Chickadees and Red Breasted Nuthatches darted to the feeder and back to the tree branches. Gray Juncos with their white bibs and pink bills mingled with the finches on the ground. One Junco looked smaller and browner. Maybe like the rose sided Oregon Juncos we saw out west? No it is must be just an immature Slate Colored Junco. Titmice are here too moving from spruce branch to the feeder, taking their turns. Suddenly there is a surge of flight as all flee in panic, one small body bouncing off the window screen and safely away. One brave - or foolish?- Chickadee remains, sitting on a slender branch, among the clinging yellow birch leaves. Gradually the birds return from the false alarm, a few at a time like leaves tumbling to the ground from the overhanging birch and Spruce branches.

Later two Blue Jays arrive to take over the feeder from the smaller birds. Their backs a reminder of the summer sky that hides today behind the solid gray clouds. A sprinkling of large snowflakes drift down like feathers lost in a flurry of panic or death dealt by the Sharp Shinned hawk that occasionally feeds from our bird feeder, but not today, they are some of the first snowflakes of the coming winter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Having been born and raised in Michigan I a have, not too surprisingly, had very little experience with mountains. As a child our family drove through the Smokey Mountains on our way to Florida every Easter. I will date myself here. That drive took 4 days partly because the entire distance was done on the Dixie Highway, US 10, all the way on two lane blacktops, which went through every large city and every small town Between Detroit and Ft. Meyers. Now don't get me wrong, the Smokies are very scenic and the driving can still be torturous but those mountains do not have bald heads, they never get higher than tree line. My next experience deposited me on the tarmac of a small airport having just deplaned from a 6 seat commuter at the tiny Dubois Wyoming air port. I remember turning slowly in a complete circle or maybe two with my mouth hanging open, gaping at the rocky mountains which surrounded me. Now those were mountains. The tops that we hiked to were rocky and well above tree line. I remember a tiny cedar curled in a protective hollow about the diameter of a coffee cup but no deeper than a saucer. I was told by the Biologist that the tree was probably several hundred years old. Then were was a short visit to my brother's home near the Ozarks, which are much like the Smokies, beautiful and rugged but not breathtakingly high. Then in 1999 we visited Rocky Mountain National Park. Very high mountains with a very definite tree line, like someone had drawn a pencil line around the mountain and set a limit on where the trees were allowed to grow. As we drove up there were trees and then there were no trees, a sudden delineated change from forest to alpine meadows with no trees and snow in July. From the top you could see miles away to more mountains.

Our trip west has broadened my perception of mountains. Of course the Badlands are not mountains at all. They are severely weathered plains that have created surreal landscapes where it is HOT in the summer. The Black Hills are just what their name implies, very lovely but hills and it can be HOT in the summer. The Black Hills are an ancient upthrust weathered into fascinating fingers of rock. No glaciers were here in South Dakota so grind the tops off and smooth things over. Here the trees grow to the tops of the ridges and over. There is no tree line and no alpine habitat.

That Changed when we went north and farther west to Wyoming and Montana. The Bighorm Mountains of Wyoming are a small range of mountains that include Hazelton Pyramid which is 10,534 feet above sea level. Two miles high! What I found so amazing about these mountains was that although they were very high and there was a tree line it was not as marked as in Rocky Mountain National Park. The tops of the mountains were covered in alpine grassed meadows which extended for miles. Although you could see great distances very often it did not look like you were ON a mountain top. It was odd. I always knew we were in or on the mountain but sometimes it just did not look like we were on a mountain. This picture to the left shows Hazelton Peak 10,264 feet high, from the road toward Doyle campground which is at 8,100 feet of elevation.

Farther west yet in Montana we met the Beartooth Mountains. They were not really much higher but they showed much more evidence of their glacial shaping with rounded hanging valleys above younger vee shaped stream valleys. All of the roads and driving there was rugged. None of the miles and miles of nearly flat toped mountains like the one above. Everything in the Beartooth mountains was STEEP. and the alpine meadows were above a very obvious tree line. A saying we learned in the mountains was that "if you are too hot you are not camping high enough". We had nights in the mountains when it got down to near freezing, while it was in the 100s in the valleys below.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bighorn Mountains

Our next stop was in the southern Bighorn National Forest along U.S. highway 16 west of Buffalo Wyoming. In Buffalo we were warned it was good to have reservations, so we pulled into the first promising camp ground and the first open site. It was a pull through, - EASY - It is always good if you don't have to back up the rig - and put down roots for a week. Our site was unfortunately close to the road, which turned out to be fairly “busy” for a Forest Service camp, and this not as private as we would have liked. BUT it was right beside Middle Clear Creek, which flowed merrily down hill with a good volume of very cold water. The out house was only one camp site away and the pitcher pump well provided delicious cold mountain water.

From here we did a lot of exploring over the course of the week both on foot and with the help of "White One". After taking a closer look at our Bighorn National Forest map we discovered why this road that supplied 9 campsites was so busy. The road went much farther up the valley into and provided access to a large number of Forest Service lease cabins. Many years ago the Forest Service used to lease land to people for a very nominal fee and allow them to build permanent private cabins. These leases continue to be handed down in families for generations. In some areas the leases can be sold and in others they can not depending on the Forest Management District policy. Frankly it generated a good deal of the "green eyed dragon" of envy in me. Husband on the other had found it unjust that a few people could have private homes and private use of public land that actually belongs to all of us. The cabins were very nice, some log cabins and others what looked to me like year round homes that of course would not be accessible except by snow shoe or snow mobile in the winter. We walked to the end of the road where it crossed the creek on a foot bridge to the last cabin up the valley. Then we continued walking up hill following the footpath along the creek and then away from the creek high into the mountains near the wilderness boundary.

Here the pines were tall slender gray barked Lodge Pole instead of the massive orange barked Ponderosa. We saw occasional Elk droppings and were constantly on the lookout for them but never had the luck to see them. We saw lots of tracks which we thought might be Elk but there were what looked like cow pies everywhere. "NAH can't be, maybe the Elk are umm loose this time of year." We finally climbed through a saddle and looked down the slope to a stock tank sitting beside a road. DOH!! as the kids say. We were on open range - of course they were cow pies and the tracks were cattle tracks. Sadly in our 31 days on this trip thought we saw lots of piles of Elk poop we never saw one elk.

On this same walk we came out of the forest into an area where there clearly had been fire a number of years before. Sitting on a branch in a dead snag, near a tall rock out crop was a large hawk. To our utter amazement when we looked more closely with our binoculars there on top the the rock out crop was a marmot sunning himself.

Enough for one day - or rather evening - I will continue this story another day. In the meantime you can see more pictures here.