Friday, October 31, 2014

Windy, Rainy, and Cool

What a difference!

This is the intersection of I-75 and I-696 not too far from my former home in Royal Oak. A spider-like interchange for Halloween? I still get Detroit area news stations on Dish-TV up here.

These are my views from my new home.

Not a bad trade off, eh?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wodin -

I just heard from Imelda and Steve and Wodin who live in Canada. Here are a few excerpts from their last email - which gave me some excellent directions on getting photos from folks to my blog. I'll try to remember how I did this, how I saved and then copied photos for the next time someone sends me photos to share. Wish me luck! I LOVE hearing from our pack-puppies.

Wodin continues to flourish and mature. He is the most loving, faithful dog we have ever had and he has certainly wrapped us around his little 'paws'. He brings joy to every moment of the day. He is indeed a blessing.

On a more practical note he went for the herding instinct test in July.  He got very anxious over the whole experience and it took us some time to figure out the problem as he was most reluctant to do anything but walk at the lady's heels...then it dawned on us that with all the animals he has been around he has had to be on best behaviour, gentle and not go too close - our daughter in law has horses and a donkey as do our neighbours so he could not understand what he was being asked to do.  On the third introduction to the flock he 'got' the idea and was very proud of himself when he put his sheep in the corner. We hope to go back again after Christmas and see how he actually does and whether or not he would enjoy it. The group is an hour's drive south of us but with a ferry added in, our travel time doubles.

Imelda with Wodin

He loves the water and tries to have a swim each day but fresh water is way preferable to the sea though the latter is much easier to swim in.  He insisted on going in the canoe despite his reluctance for the powered aluminum, but that curtailed our fishing as I really did not want to join him in the water if he got excited and I wasn't prepared to find out. The lake was rather brisk which for me is five minutes max in the water.

Wodin at "work"

We enjoyed the lake up in the Cariboo again and Wodin tried his best to control the squirrels and chipmunks but the latter on the whole got the better of him. I don't know if your dogs tap the ground with their paws and then pounce just like a coyote - he's really fun to watch.

Wodin, Rory, Basil

The other two dogs belong to our son's family and Rory and Wodin have a great time together - she plays the same. Basil is now almost 4 months old and is taller than a lab so it will be interesting to see what happens when Wodin meets him next! He won't be able to boss him around any more.

Steve and Wodin

Steve and Wodin getting exercise. That's how I work out too! Wodin may become an uncle late this year or early next year; one of his litter sisters is considering having puppies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Morning sunrise: -

Then a trip to Sandusky to Bob and Jamie's for breakfast. Bandon from Thumb Cooling and Heating came to install the generator yesterday but failed. They'll be in touch with a problem solving appointment to fix things.

Brandon pointed out that the back of the house, the west side, was painted a different color from the rest of the house. It's more brown; the rest is more gray. That is not a trick of the lighting. The house painter, Mary Vanerian Ramisch, also failed to finish painting five windows last year. [Coincidence! Almost immediately after I posted this Mary and Shawn showed up and painted the plug plates and windows. They also examined the exterior color and agreed that two sides (the west and north) were more brown-gray than the color Brian and I chose, a green-gray. They should be back tomorrow to finish up.]

Mary's husband Ron Ramisch fixed some rather serious septic field problems for me last year but didn't level the land after the fix. He said he would be happy to rototill the area but that wasn't part of the quote. I declined so the land remains unfinished. It's good enough. The septic field works fine now too.

Notice the two colors and the gap at the bottom.
The house is about six months old.

The base boards have separated and the unpainted part shows.

Several of the battens have pulled away.

A closer look.
Again with the two different shades of gray.
I've attached some photos showing some problems that I think K & B carpentry needs to fix. I probably could fix these problems but I don't think I should have to. Do you?

On the one hand after living here for six months, I would like to have things done. It's a toss up; I'm not delighted with the things that aren't finished, on the other hand I'm not sure I want to see them again. Know what I mean? The project went hugely over budget, but, honestly, what construction project doesn't. Mixed feelings, of course, but I'm happy with the results - as you might have noticed from previous postings. It's a great house in a great location.

The view remains great and we're very happy here. One could obsess about "things" and fight or accept things as they are. Now, at my age, I believe it's not worth the stress. I believe this is the first time I've mentioned problems - they are very small ones after all, aren't they. I believe I'll have a cup of cocoa - did you hear? the price of chocolate is going up not because of Ebola but because of speculators creating fear about Ebola. Much of the world's cocoa is grown and harvested in Cote d"Ivoire which is west of the three affected countries - Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone - and has to pass through those countries to get to market. It's simply the "Way We Live Now" - Anthony Trollope. It has ever been thus, I'm afraid.

Monday, October 27, 2014

American Elm?

I'm not sure. This might be an American elm tree; haven't seen a large one for years. They used to be virtually everywhere in urban and rural environments. The vase shaped silhouettes of mature trees were beautiful. I have seen several smaller trees that I'm sure were elms along the roads here. It would be great if they had some built in natural immunity to the fungus that causes Dutch Elm disease which us spread from diseased trees to healthy ones- I'm skeptical, however.

Unfortunately people used to plant almost entire suburbs with the same kind of tree which made it very easy for diseases to spread from sick trees to healthy ones. We are still doing that. We had recently planted ash trees along our streets - and along came the imported (non-native) ash tree borer beetle. Whole sections of cities plant thornless honey locusts! Duh. Look at natural forests! They always have a wide variety of trees and shrubs. If one kind of tree gets sick, the distance between it and its sibling is usually enough that the disease doesn't spread.

We have lost huge forests of American chestnuts, American elms, several species of ash trees, flowering dogwoods, oak trees, etc. Yet some city planners and a few, a few, landscape architects without working knowledge of plants and plant diseases continue to litter the landscapes with all the same kind of tree because it looks nice. Locust trees are planted virtually everywhere now because they look nice, grow fast and easily in urban (polluted) environments, and have compound leaves so when autumn comes the individual small leaflets drop and don't need to be raked up! If we planted our cities with multiple varieties of trees, we could reduce the problem. If we don't smarten up, we may end up treeless. At one time Royal Oak planted only locusts. Then they planted only ash trees. Now, fortunately, they plant multiple varieties of trees. Smart!

Saw the above elm(?) on the way to Sandusky where I saw huge piles of sugar beets (below) starting the process of being turned into sugar today.

Last week we had a partial solar eclipse. The sun was already too low on the horizon but its half-light partially illuminated some birch trees in Nordmark. Normally the leaves look yellow; the partial sunlight turned them a rather eerie, but beautiful, shade of bronze or copper.

Two additional sunrises - one from last Friday, one from today.


I suppose I could get tired of them but not for a long time still. My night owl guests always miss these spectacular rises! Their loss. My generator is being installed tomorrow. It's probably too expensive but I think our infrastructure is crumbling around us and politicians are too busy making money from lobbyists and avoiding doing anything for the majority of us. Is this what happened to Rome? I think so.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Exploring # 3

The property is very well maintained: grass mowed, fallen trees and logs cut up and removed, benches built, bridges built, paths everywhere. The owner wants us to use his property.

Some random shots that were taken along the river and in the woods and fields. There's even a hidden pond with water lilies and blackberry bushes around the edge.


There are the remains of an old farm house and a barn that have collapsed even more since I've been here. Down in the valley and on the hill are old apple and pear trees. Near the house are some black walnut trees, lilacs, beauty bushes, and in the spring spirea bushes and narcissi.

Exploring # 2

The following shots were taken heading west back toward the house. Clearly, at least to me, the benches are meant for meditation, for pausing along the way.

I found a plaque for their son attached to a concrete bench by a blue spruce near the beach.

Exploring # 1

I live on a "U" shaped driveway that is shared with four other houses and one permanently placed travel trailer. One arm of the U goes through my small, about 9 acres, forest. The other arm is on someone else's property.

Connected to our properties is a much larger piece of land owned by an older couple which is not connected by the shared "U" shaped driveway; they have their own private drive. I'm guessing that there were some trees on their land when they bought it and that they probably planted many more trees soon after they built. They both are retired architects. On a ridge behind their house and out buildings is a high ridge several hundred yards long with an alley-way of mature pine trees; they are mostly white pines. As the ridge approaches Lake Huron there is a gradual slope; at the end of the slope is a crescent shaped beach and a bay. There's a picnic table, a circle of stones, a fire pit, and piles of wood for building fires. The affect is not unlike Stone Henge. Walking down between the pines towards the beach, which you cannot see until the end of the aisle, is like walking through an old European cathedral. Although the surf is noisy, the Pine Cathedral is quiet, whisper quiet. There are several benches, different sizes and shapes, scattered along the walkway. Most are for a solitary soul.

Here are several photos of the path. Clicking on them will enlarge them. The beach is at the eastern end. There is a river meandering through their property which empties into Lake Huron at the beach.

We are heading east; the triangle of light is Lake Huron.
Clicking enlarges.

Slope down to the beach.