Monday, May 25, 2009


We just returned from a weekend at the Alma Highland Festival, where we helped with the Clan Donnachaidh tent. That is Robertson to all us non Gaelic speakers. We still never get our fill of Bagpipes and the Massed Bands. The President of the Upper Midwest Branch of the Clan always brings an impressive collection of weapons. I could not resist posing Richard with the largest. That dangerous looking thing is darn heavy. I carried a much lighter weight, but almost as long, broadsword in the parade of Tartans at the opening ceremonies.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Medieval life

Here is a video for everyone to enjoy. It is long but worth the viewing.

It starts with scenes of violence and ends with a very tender moment of love, that is the best part so stay to the end. presents: Polish Medieval Tournament in Edinburgh from on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rabbits vs. Tulips

I love Tulips, but they are very hard to grow in my bit of rural Michigan. Rabbits are the bane of this gardener's existence. I have some very beautiful tulips.

But were it not for cages . . . . . .

They would look like this sorry group below.

Virginia Blue Bells

I love these. Another reason to look forward to spring as they bloom for so short a time.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ahhh! April in Michigan

Yes it is spring at last.

Back in the saddle

I finally went back to riding yesterday after a three month hiatus. This is the barn at Tin Girl Farm where my coach is located. I rode a nice Pinto Quarter Horse gelding named Socks. He is a pretty good boy, and do I have a lot of work to do to get back into some sort of shape.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Winter vacation

I think that it is about time I posted at least a summary of out trip this winter.

We left home home with the Silver Dog House on the first of February and returned the middle of March. We are thinking that we should have stayed longer in the sunny, if not always hot or even warm south west.

Our second night out we found a state park in Oklahoma where the host was the only other person in the park. When we pulled in it was nearly dusk. The hostess turned on the lights in the restrooms for us and we had Hot showers. We also had water hookup and washed the road salt off the trailer that night. We did a touch up in the morning and had sheets of ice forming, but the road salt was off. Man Oklahoma was cold, we had been hoping for warm by then.

We spent about a week in and around Austin Texas, so we could visit our elder daughter, who is in graduate school at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the South West (ETSS). We stayed in two different Texas state parks that were quite nice if expensive for our taste. Pictures are on the Picasa web album.

Then we spent most of a week at Padre Island at the National Seashore. Richard and I both loved it. It had been decades since I had seen the Gulf of Mexico. As a child we spent winter vacations on the Florida side. Richard had never spent any time on the gulf and found it very interesting and enjoyable. The beach was unfortunately extremely dirty in comparison to my past experience. We were told the worst of it had been cleaned up but that there was still a lot left over from Hurricane Ike. Richard was not however happy with the corrosion we found on the trailer, when we washed the salt spray off at a car wash, on our way off the island. So to my sorrow he says no more camping on Padre Island or the ocean at all. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have been the road salt that caused the corrosion.

From Padre Island we went west to Big Bend National Park. Again we ran into hurricane Ike damage. There had been serious flooding of the Rio Grande which had done a lot of damage to both campgrounds on the river. The geology and geography of the park are fascinating. We will definitely go back again.

From there we made as stop at McDonald Observatory and attended both a star party in the evening and a sun party the next morning.

Our next stop was in the Coronado National forest in south east Arizona. We returned to a campground we found last year and stayed much longer this time. I brought a hummingbird feeder with me this year. We had three species of hummers, Black-chinned, Magnificent, and Broad-tailed. However the Acorn woodpeckers were the first to visit the feeder and did so regularly.

From there we spent time in both Saguaro Nation Park and Organ Pipe National Monument. The desert biology is fascinating. And ohhh the hummingbirds were beautiful We actually got three extremely hot days, low 90s, while at Organ Pipe. But fortunately it always cools of at night in the desert. The desert is beautiful and we love it, I guess because it is so different from home. But the plants can be dangerous. The dog got into a cholla and it took some effort to free him of the spines. Richard got hooked in the process. and then I got into one of my own, OUCH, the spines are barbed and hurt like crazy to pull out

While in the Tuscon area we visited the Pima Air and Space Museum. Then we discovered another beautiful campground on the west side of the Chiricahua Mts. and stayed there several days. On the way back east we went through White Sands National Park and camped on top of a mountain in the Lincoln National Forest near a small mountain town with the descriptive name of Cloudcroft east of Alamagordo. It was very much still winter there. Cold and lots of snow. the dog loved it. And the price was right. Free, in a national forest recreation area parking lot. Our departure from the sunny south west took us through Roswell.

We camped in a lot of Wal-Mart parking lots between destinations. Some were noisy and at least one we had all to ourselves and was very quiet.

Once we got home we wished we had stayed another month - but I was expected back at work. So here we are with snow still in piles and on the north side of slopes, and freezing temperatures every night and only in the 40s or maybe low 50s during the day. BRRRRR!!! But it is time to clean up the yard and get the garden season started.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AH! April in Michigan- this is Spring?

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of snow plow blades scraping on pavement. Surprise!! Surprise!! it is April in Michigan, and not even Easter yet, Holy Week to be precise, so a native Michigander should not be surprised.

The storm had started with rain which was attested to by the creaking of ice on the tree limbs when I poked my head out the patio door to take the first picture here. These April storms tend to be very wet snow, great for packing - snow men, snow forts, and snow ball fights. It is also BEAUTIFUL! creating snow sculptures covering every surface, from cars to the smallest twig on shrub and tree.

I am glad my daffodils are not up very far, but the Crocus are buried beneath this heavy wet blanket. Will it keep them fresh like the florist's cooler? One can hope.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

More pictures from winter 2009 trip

Life has been busy so I am Just gradually getting pictures of our trip posted on my Picasa album. There are a few more here since the last time I mentioned them. Someday maybe I will find time to write a short history of the trip because there ARE stories to tell.

Meanwhile I am "wasting" time on Facebook keeping track of my friends and family so I have to give up computer time somewhere and it has been here that I have neglected.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Left Turn at Joy

Left Turn at Joy

Christina has found some wonderful music with a vital message.

Please go see and listen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2009 travels

Well so much for posting daily or even occasionally, during the winter escape from Michigan winter.

We are home again and it is March 17, Wow St. Patrick's Day. And it seems we are at least two weeks early. There is still ice on the ponds and in the ditches and the frost is not out of the ground yet.

I took lots of pictures, during our six weeks away from home, which I am working on getting into my Picasa Albums. They start with "2009 Seminary of the Southwest" and I am gradually working on getting more up. Unfortunately I will be a fairly slow process as there is a dirty trailer and house and yard to get "Spring Cleaned". Four huge jobs ahead to integrate with working.

Watch for more pictures to come.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day two

Monday February 2

When we left Wal-Mart at 8:30AM White One said it was 27 degrees. Plus the wind was blowing so it was pretty cold.

Tonight, Monday night we are in an Oklahoma State Park, We are the only ones here so we had the pick of sites with electric and water hook up for $16. It is an opportunity to get the Michigan Road salt and mud washed off. But what a cold job for Dick to do after dark with unheated water

Driving through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois looked pretty much the same but as as we crossed the Mississippi River, the geography changed drastically from flat farm land to steep rolling woodlands. I-44 is cut through the hills so there are sheer rock faces. The woods also changed from mixed hardwoods to Oak and Cedar with Sycamore's white tops towering above the the rest of the forest. There was a gradual change, as we crossed Missouri, from the hilly Oak/Cedar forest to the flat open grasslands of Oklahoma. There are odd large mounds occasionally dotted on the flat former Prairie. When we asked about them, a local fellow said he thought they were natural.

As the day progressed the amount of snow also lessened until in Oklahoma there were just the few odd bits left in the shade of buildings.

So the roads have been pretty much the same boring interstates that one too often chooses when you are in a hurry to get somewhere. We started with I-69 in Lapeer, Michigan and took that all the way to Indianapolis, Indiana, then switched to I-70 and picked up I-44 in St. Louis which took us all the way to the Oklahoma border where surprise, surprise we were on the Oklahoma tollway with no other place to go. But it turned out to be not a bad thing. There was a very helpful lady at the information plaza who showed us how to get to Austin without going through Oklahoma City and the easiest way to get around Dallas/Fort Worth. She also pointed us to several Oklahoma State parks – and we picked the first one we came to. It was getting dark and we were tired. We MIGHT get to Austin tomorrow but maybe not. We may just find somewhere to stop on the way.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The trip starts

Tonight we are “camped” in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Vandalia Illinois, the same Wal-Mart where we stayed on the first nigh out of our Spring 2008 trip. Then it was April and pleasant shirt sleeve weather. Tonight it was hovering just above freezing as the sun went down.

When we left home this morning the roads were slushy or snow covered most of the way to Lapeer. From Lapeer to Lansing they were just wet, and from west of Lansing the roads were mostly dry. The sun was bright most of the day and the highest temperatures were in Indianapolis when it reached 47

We saw wildlife and wildlife signs all along the Michigan roadside fence rows where deer, we saw one doe, had been working the shrub and tree plantings for fruit and twigs. At one point we saw a flock of turkeys scratching for food and were able to see their tracks all along a ditch bank that paralleled the road. Snow continued to be deep even forming large drifts on the roadside banks well into Indiana. Then North of Fort Wayne the roadway banks had large ares that were bare and large areas of corn fields were more exposed so the snow was less deep than at home.

In Indiana we saw several herds of deer foraging in corn stubble and what looked like frozen lakes because the fields were so completely covered with snow. But by the time we reached Vandalia which had a severe ice storm last Monday and Tuesday the snow was much reduced.

Sunday 7:30 AM

Headed out. The sun is just coming up and the wind is blowing but the sky is BLUE.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are we ready yet?

Tomorrow morning is the day we want to leave EARLY on our escape from this snowy northern winter in the Silver Dog house.

It is late and we are nearly ready to leave but still have some major things to do tomorrow morning. Put the mattress back in the trailer and make the bed. Move food from the fridge in the house into the trailer. Load the bicycle into the back of the truck.

Then we are good to go and praying for good roads all the way to Austin. We are getting apprehensive about taking a trip this time of year and Dick has already sworn we will not do it again.

Pray for us we will need it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I am finding it difficult to "be creative" everyday. Or at least I am having difficulty labeling the things I do that may be and I don't notice. At the least I have created some grand dinner salads recently. In an attempt to continue work on a lap throw I am making out of scraps of yarn, I have bought three new crochet hooks this week. Three not because I needed three but because, first I could not find the stash I have somewhere in the house, and second because I lost the first one I bought in two days. So with the replacement I bought a second for insurance.

Then this evening in ANOTHER snow storm I found God's creative hand had etched mountain scapes of snow on the windows of out poor cold Silver Dog House who is just itching to be in a warmer climate, just like we are.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Does going through old pictures of my own wedding count as creative?
Even in black and white we look like this was the 70s!
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Creative E-Cards

If you are reading this post you have probably received a greeting card that I sent from the Jacquielan Lawson, web page. Jacquie is an English lady that does wonderful E-Cards. If you like them, they are not expensive and you can get to her site from the banner at the bottom of the page or the Card of the Month on my sidebar.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Being Creative Today

We went to the annual after Christmas sale at Past Tense, as we do every year. This picture of the clear pink ball is the only picture of one of the new ornaments that I like - so far. I am not done trying.

I think probably a lot of my attempts at Being Creative Every Day will involve my camera. I love playing with the digital camera because there is no waste of film if the pictures do not turn out.
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Creative Every Day

Last year I tried the challenge to post every day. I did not succeed. When we travel it just is not possible to post every day and when we got home I never got back in the swing of every day posting.

Now I have found a new challenge to be Creative Every Day. It tickles my creative side. I love the idea of trying to be creative in some way every day by cooking a good dinner, or baking, or crafting, of finding a way to add exercise to my life or.. or.. or..

So here begins a new challenge on New Years Day.

I will decide how to post, whether to create lists each week or just write a paragraph or two of my attempts to meet the challenge, or post a photo of my attempts. That I will decide when it is time to post. I am looking forward to this challenge because there are so many ways to be creative.