Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A new Cross on the wall

This cross has been in a box in my closet for at least two years. Why on earth have I let it sit there so long? It is lovely and the little tealight smells so good too.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The first real snow fall started during the day yesterday. It brought with it the "snow plow guy" to the parking lot at work with his blade and salt. By the time we left for the day it had stopped snowing and someone had graciously cleared off our cars. I think it was probably another employee who had left earlier. Thank you Sheila.

We were greeted this morning with more of the very wet, cold, white, stuff weighing down the spruce branches, and sticking to any vaguely horizontal surface.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November ramble

It was a lovely sunny day today so I took the camera out doors for a little while and walked down the road a short way.

Thanksgiving Cactus

Of all my plants I think this is the hardest one of which to take pictures.

Where did Thanksgiving go?

Even though we have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving, the stores are full of Christmas decorations and music. Last week I tried to do some shopping for Thanksgiving table decorations. All I could find was Christmas fare. Thanksgiving seems to have been completely supplanted by the much more profitable spending of the "Holiday Season". Halloween candy is not out of the stores before the Christmas decorations are for sale in the "garden centers". As the Christmas season approaches we are inundated with commercial signals to buy buy buy, spend spend spend. That is not what Christmas is about. Christ came to give himself. My daughter's Blog expresses her thoughts on the subject very well here.

I admit to getting all hyped for the Christmas Season - too early - I fear it will feel stale by the time Christmas truly arrives. And I am always left feeling a huge let down when the real 12 days of Christmas are ignored by the rest of the world. Maybe I should be relieved that those who celebrate the full 12 days from December 24 to January 6 are left without the hectic commercialization during the true Christmas season.

And just for practice I am embedding the You Tube video from Josephine's web site here too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Say Thanks to our Troops

Xerox is doing a great service to help build the moral of our troops overseas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Opening Day

In Michigan, Opening Day of Firearms Deer Season is a HOLIDAY. In some places the schools close if it is on a weekday. So many of the boys and some girls from Jr. High through High school will be in the field that the day will not count for attendance. And the teachers, male and some female are in the field too.

This year it is a cold rainy ugly day.

There was a Doe hiding in the back of our garden all day. We discovered her in the morning near our compost pile, probably enjoying the last of the discarded apples. She soon moved to the back of the garden near the pines along the back property line. It was a safe place to be. We have had several deer eating off the trees in our orchard all fall.

For the first time since we have lived in North Branch - over 30 years - there was a "Buck Pole" set up in front of one of the merchants. On the way to work this morning there was one buck hanging. People coming into the Library all day commented on how many there were and by noon it was not only full but over flowing to a makeshift pole arranged on the tines of a hay fork lifted high by a blue tractor.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

FINALLY - the last entry from our spring trip west .

I left off on the last trip post with us just entering Monument Valley. We found their RV "parking area" and unhitched the Silver Dog House. Then paid the $7.00 to drive a trail among the Buttes, Spires, Towers and cliffs. The formations are the result of uplift and then millennia of water and wind erosion. The red color of the sedimentary rock that makes up the formations is a result of large deposits of iron oxide. Monument Valley is probably the most photographed landscape on the planet so I just had to contribute my collection of pictures.

The wind was blowing hard the whole time we were in the valley and we still had Monument Valley pumpkin orange sand in the bed of the truck when we got home.

We spent that night camping on the beach at Lake Powell.

The wind was still blowing and some kids camping in tents had problems with them blowing down the beach if they were not in them. The Silver Dog House was buffeted by the winds all night. Duncan had a swim but cut it short when he became more interested in a neighbor's dog than in minding his manners.

We were beginning to run short on time but still wanted to see Zion and Bryce Canyons. After all we had come this far we could not leave without at least a look at part of Utah.

We made the mistake of breaking one of our own rules - never try to find a new camp site on a weekend. First we tried Coral Sands State Park where the sand was more ORANGE than coral in color and the campground was full.
We pushed on the the east entrance of Zion where we were told that the campgrounds there were full. There were none back to the east and Richard did not want to drive through the tunnel with the trailer so we turned around and went the long way around, back south through Arizona to the west entrance near Hurricane.
After searching out a doggy day care where we could leave Duncan for our tour of the park we finally found ourselves at the only full service RV park we stayed in during the six week trip (except for the Airstream Factory). Early the next morning Duncan was deposited at the doggy day care and we spent the day touring Zion Canyon on foot and with the almost silent propane powered shuttle buses.
We returned to collect Duncan before dark and spent another night cheek to jowl in the very cramped park.

Now we headed to Bryce Canyon. Here the campgrounds were not full but the choicest sites were and we had to choose one on a steep slope. That afternoon we worked our way to the end of the road at the highest point in the park, stopping at lookouts along the way, and drove right into a snow storm. Zion Canyon was the first time in the trip we had been too hot and now we were freezing cold. I took pictures as long as we could stand the cold and wind then returned to the trailer and its heater. The next morning dawned bright and clear and found us as Sunrise Point to catch the first light over the Canyon. It was cold but beautiful. We spent the morning retracing out steps of the afternoon before and taking pictures with sunlight on the scenery instead of snow falling from low lying clouds. Wildlife showed itself in the form of Wild Turkeys and Pronghorn Antelope, neither the least bit afraid of us. The sun on the Aspen trees showed me what Richard has always told me - the Bark was white as birch in the east. The morning felt rushed as we broke camp and headed east at lunch time.

The last part of the trip was a two and a half day mad dash across the continent from Bryce Canyon National Park to the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. There is one large album in Picasa that covers that 1500 mile stretch. Most of the pictures cover the scenic drive north of Bryce Canyon through Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument and then east across Utah and Colorado to the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnels on I-70 which cross under the Continental Divide at 11,000 feet.

Utah 12 is a designated scenic road that twists and turns through some of the emptiest landscape we saw on the trip. It crosses the north west edge of the Colorado Plateau and is as nearly soil less as any landscape I have ever seen.

Utah 12 met Utah 24 and traveled east through Capitol Reef National Park, another area I would like to spend more time. We finally met I-70 and headed east. That night we stopped at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Glenwood Springs.

The next morning was cold and rainy. We drove I-70 through mountains with snow still on the ground. the last section of the Interstate Highway system to be finished goes through the very narrow Glen Wood Canyon. The Interstate is paralleled by the Railroad which of course came first. In order to make the railroad and highway fit in the narrow canyon with the river they are built on three different levels, the highway on one side of the river and the railroad on the other. At Hanging Lake Dam in Glen Wood Canyon there is a tunnel through the mountain that is amazing. My picture is from the highway but I have since found a flicker album of pictures that are much better than mine. There is a rest area there that we unfortunately missed, so there are pictures from different angles. The Flicker album also includes the Eisenhower tunnel. If you run your cursor over this one you will see the rail road tunnel as well. And here an east bound train going under I-70. And this picture shows I-70 divided on two decks at different elevations, plus has information about the canyon I wish I had known before we drove through it. We will have to go this way again. Here is a blog with an amazing photo of the west end of the tunnel entrance, from above. You can see all three tunnel entrances, and the dam on the Colorado tributary.

Beyond we climbed to the Continental Divide and went under it at 11,000 feet through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnel. By the time we reached the Continental Divide we had returned to winter with deep snow on the ground. Fortunately the cloud cover was out of flakes and we drove just underneath the bottoms of the clouds through a dark morning with the sun actually trying to burn through.

From full winter west of Denver we descended to spring across the plains and spent the next night in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Topeka, Kansas. That was a nearly 700 mile drive. The last day's drive was over 700 miles in the rain. We pulled into the camping area at the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio at 10:00 pm Thursday night. They have a nice camping facility they call the Terraport, where your stay is free, the night before, day of and night after, if you are getting service. We met a couple from Alaska who would be staying over the weekend as their service was more extensive.

Friday morning early they came and collected the Silver Dog House and were done with the repairs in very fast order. We took the factory tour in the afternoon and shopped at the factory store.

Saturday we made the relatively short drive home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

It is very warm here for November 4. I have several windows wide open listening to the Robins in the yard that were singing in the early morning. Though most of the leaves are off the trees there is still a great deal of color to be found if you just look. So as I wait to go to the poles, in hopes of hitting a time without a LONG line, I took my camera around the yard and found a lot of color. There were soft pastels and bright reds to contrast with intense greens that have not given in to the onset of fall.

Voting took 45 minutes. I was number 583 but only 562 ballots had been feed through the machine. I heard at least 3 people who had spoiled their ballots and had to re-vote. Sure hope they don't run out of ballots. It is NOT hard to follow instructions. Fill in the arrows, and vote for not more than the number it tells you.

There was a really remarkably RED burning bush at the corner of the Township Hall where I went to vote. Of course I did not have a camera with me. But when I went back into town with an errand to run and took the camera with me I was disappointed. I returned to the Burning Bush to find that from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P. M. many of the reddest leaves had fallen and the yellower leaves were now showing through. Now the direct afternoon sun brought out the orange and it was still very bright, even if in a different shade of scarlet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


November 1 dawned bright and chilly. Duncan of course was eager to go celebrate another morning, as he does everyday. He found his favorite play thing - a LONG stick. In this case it was an eight foot stake we had used in the garden. His likes to run as fast as he can either carrying, pulling or pushing the sick along.

It entertained him for a long time even when he tangled it in his rope. His enthusiasm eventually broke it in two which made it a bit less fun. But never enough for him to loose interest. He wanted to bring part of it inside when I grew tired of the games.