Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday, the Last Day of August, 2014

I'm not sure these photos will show the seagulls: -
Clicking on the photos may enlarge them enough for you to be able to see them.

They come in the hundreds from the fields where they may be gorging themselves on earthworms and/or grasshoppers. My neighbor to the north was out trying to shoot them. He's from the Balkans.

Today I hung some more pictures in the pole barn and in my garage. Why not? That's better than just letting them sit in the storage racks. I emptied several boxes, inside one of them I found a nest of baby mice probably only a day old. I didn't see mom but some of them were scattered on the floor so she must have been trying to save them. I put the scattered ones back in the nest. I'm sure they won't be there tomorrow.

The traffic on M-25 was heavy (of course nothing like the traffic on 13 Mile) with vacationers frantically rushing to enjoy Labor Day. Ha.

Closing has been moved up to this week. They are anxious to move in. That's good!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

John worked his behind off over the past three days and I have a really nice pond to show for it.
The photos make it look like it was easy. It was not. The "soil" is very heavy clay and he had to work on the two hottest days of the summer. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Two small frogs, I'm guessing they are bullfrogs, have already moved in.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Interesting quote: -

"We cannot become who we need to be by remaining who we are." - unattributed.

I went to the Royal Oak house yesterday and did some cleaning up in the backyard for the new owners - closing should on September 12. Ron Rocz, my real estate agent, said the family would like to close before then if possible

While there John Cynar stopped by to help me take a few divisions of old plant-friends. I am leaving all of my plants behind - which is sad for me - but I have taken a few small divisions of some of my favorites and also some of the old legacy plants I've acquired since my age was in the single digits.

Normally August is NOT the time to transplant and the clay "soil" up here is terrible but I think and hope I can pull virtually all of them through. I'm good at that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A small-ish storm last evening was followed by some awesomely beautiful skies. The eerily orange-ish skies didn't photograph well. The orange didn't "take". Nonetheless, the skies were great.

Clicking on the photos enlarges them.

I was reminded today of a phrase my Mother taught us when we were bullied-kids; I don't remember it exactly now almost 70 years later but it went something like: -

I'm rubber and you're glue,
what you say bounces off me
and sticks to you!

Today, as an over-ripe (i.e. mature) adult, I know that she was teaching us a basic psychological principle. The things we accuse others of are often things we are "guilty" of doing or being (or are afraid of being but still wanting to be - is that awkward?) ourselves.

Bullies are like that, aren't they? The louder they are, perhaps, the more they are hiding.

Whether they are racist, miscegenistic, homophobic, misogynistic, etc., by their taunts, they tell us, if, IF, we're "listening", an awful lot about themselves.

I was at a small informal gathering a while ago when a young adult, who should have known better, railed against pederasts and grouped them with gays. No one called her on it which seriously disappointed me.

I have a certain amount of empathy, understanding for pederasts. That does NOT mean I forgive them or excuse them. Far from it. I realize that on one level most of them were themselves abused as children. However, it is my understanding that most abused children do NOT grow up to become pederasts themselves. Many, probably most, will recover and, as adults, counsel and help to protect abused children. Some will abuse themselves with alcohol, drugs, etc. I believe a small percentage do mirror what happened to themselves and become abusive in words and/or deeds. (Do not get me started on the people in positions of authority like priests who are abusive.) Sorry. I digressed.

On the way back from breakfast I stopped to take a few shots at a yard where there are, in turn, wonderful displays of iris, daylilies, and now dahlias. Next year I will take photos of the iris and then later the daylilies.

The sight of those plantings brings joy to me every time I pass. Most people most of the time are good people. I firmly believe that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

David turns 3/4 of a century old today! I understand how he could be that old but how could he have a brother following closely in his aged-footsteps?

For Brian: -
Clicking on photos enlarges them.

I've been clearing out underbrush - mostly red-twig dogwood, maple-leaf viburnums, and choke cherries - in my north forest. Yesterday I noticed that the view through my north bedroom door-wall is also of Lake Huron.  Amazing. I don't think anyone noticed that over the past couple of years. Should I clear the forest out more in order to see the lake better or should I leave the trees and underbrush as they are to reduce winter winds? What a great decision to ponder. It may take a few years to decide! In the meantime, the north view of Lake Huron is elusive and, therefore, perhaps more enticing? Over the past few weeks I have planted about a dozen three or four year old spruce trees, mostly Norway spruce but also a couple of white and black spruce, in that forest. One day someone is going to really enjoy that forest! The "pine" smells will be wonderful, the habitat amazing, and the north woods feel terrific.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, August, 14, 2014

The weather is like October - which is fine by me.

I bought these "suns" or "stars" from Amy Citgo, an artist I found at the Royal Oak Art Fair a few years ago. She also had a booth at an Art Fair recently in nearby Lexington, a cool city not unlike Saugatuck/Douglas. Clicking on photos enlarges them.
I'm really hoping they will deter birds from flying into my windows. I read that anything that would slow the birds down even just a bit might make it possible for them to avoid colliding with the glass.

The same article said that mirrors might also deter birds. Time will tell. If they work, it would be a lot less expensive than covering the windows with a protective layer of "screening". The cool thing is that they twist in the wind and reflect light into the rooms behind them. The play of light on the walls is delightful. Conversely, the bad thing is that in a strong wind they tend to hit the windows. I rehung some of them a couple of days ago placing them further out and that seems to have helped. Time, again, will tell.

Fortunately the horrific storm they had Monday, further south from where I live now, in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties caused a lot of damage and flooding; it did not cause flooding in my Royal Oak house, however, which is still technically mine until closing in September. We never had a storm this bad in all the years I lived in that house. And none of the storms we did have ever dumped water into my basement.

However, I do remember while growing up in our family house on Lawson once we had a gully washer that filled the streets.

They warned us that global warming was going to change, perhaps radically change, our weather patterns. So far, anecdotally at least, it has. We are not going to just get warmer, we are going to have more extremes, I've read. I trust scientists.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Looking for a New Home

I have just found out about a neutered  Icelandic Sheepdog boy that needs a new home. I don't have a photo of him yet but I'll add it if/when I get one. (Here it is!)

This is Thor and he's just about a year old!! He recently learned how to jump through a hoop I was just told. I hope Tony gets to see this. He's beautiful, oops, handsome. Right now he's a gangly "teenager". He will soon beef up a bit.

His mother is a tricolor that acts like she's a border collie. She was adopted by a lady who wanted a companion  with whom she could maybe do dog sports. The dog arrived fat and dirty. After two weeks she took her to a vet to get her neutered and they discovered that she was pregnant. She gave birth two days later to five healthy purebred Icelandic Sheepdog puppies. (Unfortunately the pups could not be registered even though his parents were pure Icelandics.)

Homes were found for all of the unexpected puppies but recently one of the families lost their home and had to move so the owner of the mother has him back.

I've heard he is crate trained. I'll try to find out more.

If you're interested, send me an email.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I spent the morning yesterday in the Emergency Room at McKenzie Hospital in Sandusky, Michigan. I learned while there that I have an ulcer. Dr. Bassam Batarse said it may have been caused by stress. STRESS - me! All the things I've been doing have been stressful but I didn't realize I had been letting it affect my body. They tell you not to make more than one major life change at a time. I've changed virtually everything over the last year!

The people buying the house in Royal Oak are proving to be PITA people. New phone, new computer, new internet, new van (more than a year ago though), new ophthalmologist, new dentist, new garden, new fences, new appliances, new acquaintances, new "driving times" to where I need to go to get stuff, same old dogs; however, I did not think any of these things were stressful! (Well I've learned to detest phone menus in order to talk with an honest to goodness living person - hopefully in the U.S.)

Jon and Tracy came up for a short visit to get away from "things" and we did some relaxed sight seeing. Pleasant visit.

We saw the Petroglyphs and walked the mile path. The huge Michigan fire which destroyed the white pine forests in Michigan's thumb changed the landscape forever. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Just outside of Forestville along the road to the Petroglyphs we saw some annual poppies planted in someone's garden. We had to stop and take some photos and some seeds that hopefully will grow in the less than ideal conditions on my property. It looks like they enjoy sandy soil in mostly sun. I'll scatter the seeds and gently rake them into the soil now; hopefully they'll winter through and start to grow next spring.

We saw these double Rudbeckias growing next to a convenience store along the way. I have some single ones that I've had for many years; I've moved a few up here.

This bench was one of several along the nature walk at the Petroglyphs.

We were told that this white pine tree either survived the Thumb fire or came from a seed that sprouted soon after. I've been trying to get Tracy and Jon to go to Hartwick Pines in Michigan so they can see what the pine forests that built Chicago looked like before the fires destroyed them. It's one of the last stands of original white pines and is fantastic.

I'm always saddened when they leave. We have such a great time while they're here. They also make my dogs' live much more interesting than I can. They love being visited.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Totty is an American Kennel Club Grand Champion and I have been trying to decide if I want to breed her a third time. I normally let my females have only two or three litters. She's an amazingly beautiful and intelligent dog, one of the increasingly more rare shorter haired Icelandic Sheepdogs. I'm in my early seventies and bending over with puppies has become problematic. The male I wanted to use for a litter was neutered. I know of only two or three males who are good enough, imo, to use as sires for her litter.

Laki, who was used for her first litter, is an amazing male and their pups turned out drop dead gorgeous. Thank you Colleen Schmidt.
Foothills Laki
Mori, from Debbie Ostrander, is also a great guy and produced good puppies too.
Mori-Bjorn av Isheim

I want to use a different male with Totty again this time. Do know of a great male?
Vinlands Totty
What do you think I should do?

Driving to Sandusky, Michigan this morning I was reminded of Vincent - love that man. Perhaps a 2014 version of his amazing haystacks. (I have to add Michigan because there is a Sandusky in Ohio also.)

Late last winter I purchased small rooted cuttings from Select Seeds in Connecticut, on line of course, of three amazing heirloom old fashioned geraniums. I think they are from the late 1800s but I may have that wrong. I love them because not only are the flowers really nice but the variegated foliage is wonderful too. The flowers are more intense than the photos show - I think taking the photos in the sun made them look faded. They are brilliant. Click on potos to enlarge them.
Mrs. Pollock
Velma Cox
Black Velvet Scarlet
They were all shipped to my old address and languished for more than a week before arriving up north. Although they each were only about four or five inches (14 cm +/-) tall when I got them, they survived and have really prospered.

There is never a dull day, Lake Huron-wise, up here. Rarely do we have white caps but this day we did!

I am recovering from food poisoning. Yuck.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New to Icelandics; Not New to Breeding and Showing

Roni has been breeding and showing Shelties for years (decades?) under the Hidows name and has acquired a great reputation for producing great breed standard, healthy Shelties with wonderful temperaments. She has added a few Icelandics to her kennel over the past few years and is doing as good or perhaps one day even better with them. Here are a few of her Icelandics.
Sonny - wet
Sonny - dry

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Roni's Sheltie, Hidow Piece of the Puzzle, won a Specialty Major by going Best of Winners defeating about 35 other Shelties.  Last year he was in sixth place in the Owner Handler series for a while ending the year tied for ninth place. He is fourth generation down from her foundation bitch. 
Puzzle is two years old from Hidow McDreamy x Hidow Kiss From a Rose and is from a litter of nine, four of which are in show homes. Roni is repeating those kinds of stats with her Icelandics.
Puzzle became a UKC champion before the age of one and was given "Honorary Fifth Place" at the Sheltie National this year. There were about 18 dogs in the class.  The Winners dog from this year's Sheltie National is a half sibling to Puzzle's mother and the Best Of Breed (BOB) was Puzzle's cousin. Best of Opposite happened to be the BOB's sire, half sibling to Puzzle's dad.