Friday, November 27, 2015


I am grateful once Thanksgiving is over.

Morning with First Light and Sunrise Looking East.

There are many stories of families and families of choice celebrating this unique American holiday; I'm happy for them. Not complaining, not whining. It's a long day. I've many memories of Thanksgivings past and I enjoy remembering them.
Evening Moon in the East, then Looking West.

I saw a marvelous PBS special on the Puritans and their journey from England to Holland to north of Boston in the early 1600s. I heard things I had never heard; stories about what things were really like for the native Americans and the immigrant Americans during those years. Those lessons are the ones we should have heard. Our celebration could remain virtually the same; honesty wouldn't lessen the day, but in my opinion, could increase our appreciation for our gifts. I think the miracle of their survival against all odds would increase our desire to give thanks.

I made turkey, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, cranberry relish, and enjoyed the traditions while watching both versions of "Room with a View" E.M. Forster on DVD. Hate the ending of the more recent version. Books and reading are always, always better but both were good enough.

Bear's "Cone of Silence" has been removed and he is doing very well. The suet feeders, the thistle feeder, the sunflower feeders are up and the winter birds are feeding.

I've removed some of the smallish trees and some enormous grapevines, trunks as thick as my wrists, growing under the electric lines leading to the Pole Barn. The West Woods are amazing; they're not primeval feeling yet but they're getting close.

I showed up for a blood draw at the local hospital on Monday but they did not have a record of the appointment - made last summer. Nevertheless, they took the blood. I'll see the doctor on Tuesday. I'm off now to get lunchtime carrots for the dog pack.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Avant et Apres

First snowfall of the "winter".

Next Morning: clouds advancing towards the east.

Two rescued plants from my former favorite restaurant just in time for the holidays. A Christmas Cactus and a Cyclamen, both are now several years old. I've never had success with Christmas Cacti so I'm mightily pleased. The Cyclamen annually produces seeds which germinate quite easily. I wish I had more window space; I'd let some live and see if  could get them to flower.

 After the storm.
Actually picture postcard perfect, imo.
I actually love winter in Michigan when all the snow birds leave. It's quite peaceful. Soon, perhaps, my white pine will fall.

Bear has a serious wound on his hindquarters. I have absolutely no idea how it happened, perhaps a contretemps with a buddy while out in the forest? I can't tell if it's a puncture wound from a tooth or an accident with a stick. Regardless, he's on the mend. I might have missed it if he hadn't been licking his bum a lot. I cleaned it up a bit, applied Neosporin, and attached his "cone of silence" in order to prevent licking. My honey bear!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Still warm enough to work outdoors - in a T-shirt - in the west forest. I love being outside this time of the year. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons; I seldom do any work outside in the summer - too hot and too sunny; the winter? I read. I am continuing to cut down volunteer Russian olives (now curiously called autumn olives by most people); and prune off dead branches from the several kinds of evergreens (pines, spruce, firs, etc.). Every once in a while I stumble into a hole left by someone who has dug and kidnapped one of my trees. I wish they'd just ask. There are dozens of volunteers that I would be happy to part with if asked. That way I could fill in the holes so I wouldn't trip and hurt myself.

 Sunsets are amazing here too.

 Right after I moved here, uncharacteristically I bought a small planter with several annual plants. I placed it on my west porch railing and the plants did well all summer but died when freezing weather came. Late this summer  some volunteer annuals from that planter appeared next to my porch steps. You know I love volunteers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 18. 2015

Icelandic Sheepdog "puppy" Vinlands Kippa Jane owned by Suzanne Terrant finished her AKC championship at the age of 8 months in two weekends with three majors. (That's a big deal.) Last weekend on Sunday, November 15 she won breed for Icelandic sheepdogs at a trial in Ohio. Winners of each of  the herding breeds then competed against one another for the herding group title.

If you click on the link below, and then fast forward to about 57 minutes you can see her cute black & tan with white beautiful-ness. She is competing against the best dog in each breed; most of them are mature and experienced champions. KJ is not even a year old yet.

I feed the pond goldfish soon after sunrise each morning; while the dogs and I were fish-feeding this morning "my" bald eagle flew about 20 feet above our heads on the way to the hidden cove to the south where I've seen her/him roosting in a favorite tree. It looked huge. I've wondered if Kria would be a tempting tidbit. As long as the dogs are all outdoors, she would be safe. They all make a horrible racket whenever Baldie flies by.

Although we still are having some nice weather and I can go out on the east porch to read, watch the sky, wander through the garden, feed the fish, stroll with the dogs, soon it will be too cold to read outdoors. Although I can't always get outside in the winter because of ice, snow, and wind, I always can take photos from inside the house. Some of the shots below were taken on Monday en plein air, the rest were taken indoors.

Clicking on photos enlarges them.

My 'office' where many of my records, my computer, and, of course, plants are is really just one end of my bedroom. This is the view on Tuesday from my office window. The wind was strong and the whitecaps amazing. (It's hard to focus on 'work' with a view so distracting.)

Mercredi - Des Gendarmes and des Pompiers raided an apartment this morning in St. Denis. Allons enfants ~

I have finally started to work in the extreme western forest. There are some beautiful and very large evergreens there and I've been sawing (by hand saw) the lowest branches, which are dead. That part of my forest has been impenetrable and I want to be able to walk through it. It is dark, quiet, deserted-feeling and with its spongy pine needle covered floor it's evocative of another older time.

I have two feral cats, a ginger tiger and a black one, which keep the rodent population down (and probably thins the number of ground nesting birds). I'm delighted about the rodent issue because of lyme disease carrying rodents but sad about possible bird predation. Compromises.

Carolyn, ma belle soeur, recently gave me a long list of book titles/authors for winter reading. I am so looking forward to them. Nothing beats being "forced" to stay inside and read fortified with cups of cocoa, hot tea, cookies, etc., sleeping dogs surrounding my slipper-socked feet. Enforced idleness.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

La France

I spent several summers in France continuing my studies in language and literature - and am saddened by what has been happening there. I've brought back many memories and a few, a very few souvenirs of the good times I had there.

One of my favorite 'treasures', a smallish, double horse-headed metal objet d'art (on the left above the Jon Rajewski) survived the trip back to Les Etats-Unis and the move with me from Royal Oak to Forestville/Palms. The memory persists of the 'antique' magasin in Paris where I purchased it. One head comes off - perhaps to hide things inside? The wooden whale to the right of the Siamese horses  belonged to David and was used to store coins, paperclips, rings, etc.

Yesterday started beautifully, nice sunrise ~

a few hardy flowers (a volunteer snapdragon, the 'autumn orange day lily' from Jim Langhamar, and a wonderful Autumn Joy sedum) still managing to surprise,

and a nice trip to Al's Restaurant in Harbor Beach for breakfast. The huge Thanksgiving turkey is made out of rolled hay and sits on the lawn of a museum for a former state governor..

Now we all know how it ended - Friday, November 13, 2015.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday, Monday - Mama Cass

Washing windows on a sunny day is probably not a good idea; the streaks, smears, drips, etc. are too easy to see! Nonetheless, I'm ready for winter now.

This morning I woke to our first frost here. I'll probably dig the dahlia tubers, shake off the loose soil, and place them in a paper bags later today. Hopefully they'll survive the winter stored in the garage. I actually ordered some plants, two golden leaved elderberries, some purple leaved smoke trees, and some golden leaved smoke trees a week ago and planted them on Friday. Smoke trees are related to sumacs and deer are not supposed to like them. The elderberries and smoke trees are about 4" tall which means I must be optimistic.

I prefer First-Light to the sunrises

The porch view of the naked trees in the north forest;
beyond is north Lake Huron leaf-hidden during the summer.

Even the soft colored sunrises are amazing.

Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

New Paradigm?

I just found out that the really strong winds yesterday morning were accompanied by three tornadoes that touched down both north and south of me. Another tree was blown over in my north woods where I've lost several recently; also lost one on the bluff.

A condemned building across from Al's Restaurant in Harbor Beach was finally torn down revealing this very interesting previously hidden view of construction over the years. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Lovely Thordunu Kria

Sometimes I wonder where I've been. I recently taped a PBS presentation of "Billy Elliott" and loved it. How could I not have been aware. Duh!

Morning sky