Sunday, February 28, 2016

Longer Days

Sunday Morning, February 28, 2016

In the winter our nights here are longer; days are shorter than back down in Royal Oak (Detroit). In the summer the reverse is true: our daylight lasts longer in the summer. We can already see the difference. At 6:47 A.M. the above two photos show the difference. First light comes sooner and the days are already a little longer.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tax Trip to Royal Oak - Saturday, February 27, 2016

Left early this morning to have breakfast with Iris before doing my taxes with Cora. I got a shock because my taxes went up. I'll have a nice chat with Matt to see what, if anything, we can do. The rich have all kinds of ways to hide their money. Seems unfair.

Darin's crew (Greg, Michael, and Jimmy) has come up every day this week except Thursday because of the 12" of snow we got then. Justin and his buddy came and worked on the electricity on Friday. Electrical inspection should be Monday. Justin had also done electrical work for me in Royal Oak. Justin was pleased to discover that the wiring was partially in place for the new room because we had planned from the get-go to have a room added. There is a separate circuit breaker box in the basement for the geothermal system - for which we get a slightly reduced electrical rate.

If we pass the electrical inspection, it's perhaps time for the insulation.

While I was gone today, Greg and Darin worked all day on the outside of the new sitting room. It's looking good. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Even though we had a lot of snow only two days ago, much of it has melted - which is normal for snow this time of year. The days are getting longer and things are warming up.

Darin wants to match the metal roof on the addition to the metal roof on the house and has been searching for the exact match. He finally found the place in Bad Axe which produced the current roof. Yay!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

I'm an early riser and many, perhaps too many, of my photos are of "first light" or sunrises; my home looks east towards Canada. I don't have a great camera but it is easy to use and produces some nice photos, in my opinion. The black photo below has Mars near the middle - it even looks red, or reddish. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

Having just said that, the next two photos are still looking east but show the light from a setting sun behind my back turning the clouds and ice a marvelous shade of plumy-pink.

 Another sunrise; sometimes the sun just peeking over the horizon looks almost double.

Korpur - who would stay outside longer if I left him.

This is mist rising from the cold lake.

The new room is not even close to being and it's taken almost as long to get to this point as it took to build the whole house. I pass along the Greek blessing/curse.

First light over Lake Huron 24 hours later on Saturday; the blue was almost cobalt blue, one of my favorite colors, and we've very little ice nearby although ice will continue be carried by from the colder waters of Lake Superior for weeks to come.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Totty and Calvin's puppies from my last litter are one year old today. Happy birthday kids. Clicking on photos enlarges them. I fully realize that every breeder thinks their puppies and dogs are the best. In that respect I am no different from the pack. I think my pups are gorgeous and near-perfect. As you can see in the photos below, they are the rare short-coated type of Icelandics; they are in their "teen years" so they look tall and leggy but they will fill out as they grow.

Vinlands Tully Lulu

Vinlands Kathleen

Vinlands Kippa Jane

Vinlands Elisabeth

Vinlands Gunnar*

Vinlands Bangsi

Lake Huron changes. Yesterday the ice and snow were out towards the middle of the lake and the inland waters were open and had ice floes.

Last night the water looked rose colored and the waves almost looked iridescent.

Today the ice has been pushed shore-wards and the middle of the lake looks open.

We've been hearing a lot about the problems with the lead in the city of Flint's water. One of the suspected results is tooth loss in adults due to poisonous lead in the drinking water. Does testing the water for the presence of lead require a separate test from the standard tests for pollutants? I wonder how that has affected dogs. I'd like to hear what area vets are saying. I wonder if dogs have been losing teeth because of lead.

*The ear came up soon after that shot was taken.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Darin's crew from TAC building came and worked all day yesterday in spite of the fact that it was extremely cold. (Today is even colder so I'm very glad they didn't risk being outside up here again.) Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Even though it's frostbite weather, the view is amazing. This is my road in through my land (below).

Looking west towards Lakeshore through my forest.
Looking east to Lake Huron through my forest.

Looking south at my new sitting room.
Looking east.
Looking north.
The north wall -
window, fireplace, north door to the dogs' yard/garden.

The south wall, cubby and front door (at last).

The west wall, transom windows.
It's not a large room; when it's finished, I'll finally have a front entry door for company and a "living room" which I'm calling a sitting room - no TV. Maybe three chairs.
February is a hard month because that's when our weather in Michigan really gets bad, in my opinion, it's still a good month because now is when I can take the time to browse catalogs and order my seeds and plants for spring shipment. I've been poring through catalogs from Stark Bro's, Prairie Nursery, Wayside Gardens, Jung Seeds, White Flower Farm, Select Seeds, McClure & Zimmerman, Roots & Rhizomes, and Exciting Gardens.  I've made my selections and now I'll wait patiently for the arrival of new plants! Many things will start to arrive by Mid-March. In the meantime, I have my books to read. Winter is a wonderful time for me to rest from yard 'work'. I would not want to live in an area where I could garden all year. I need the break, the semi-hibernation, in order to become reinvigorated.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February Snow - Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My feral black cat showed up yesterday; I hadn't seen it since Christmas. I'll call it Felix (of course) or Felice. I wonder if the name Felix has the same root as felicitation. As you can see in the photo below there was no snow yesterday. But this is February, the truly winter-month here in Michigan, in my opinion; the exact opposite of August. The second month and then six months later, the eighth month, they are found 180 degrees opposite one another traveling around our sun. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Some photos during the storm: -


Looking a little bedraggled after having flowered for more than two months are two rescued plants taken from one of my favorite brunch cafes after they stopped flowering and were junk-tossed: a cyclamen, from me, and a cactus, from Iris. Their red flowers brighten up winter days and are welcome winter bright spots. I've had them both for several years now. I think I'll be able to keep the cyclamen going for much longer. If not, it regularly produces seeds which are easy to germinate. The cactus is a "picky eater" and survives unwillingly.

Reliable Rick from Harbor Beach came early and plowed the road in and then my driveway. Darin's crew cam yesterday but left early without doing anything, anticipating, I think, the snow's arrival.

Another "Rick", Michigan's governor, is not so reliable apparently. Our Rick billed himself as a nerd and a relatively non-partisan republican. He has over the years appointed financial managers when our cities have had financial crises because of the economic slow down in Michigan. He has done the same for some troubled school districts creating a multi-tiered system with charter schools and private schools to replace many public schools in financially strapped districts. Our schools were struggling because of the economic downturn causing lower tax revenues from 2008 on. Those struggling schools also had appointed financial managers replace district superintendents.

I honestly don't know what to think. However, appointing bosses, not responsible to the voters, does not sound like democracy to me at least. Recently the financial manager for troubled Flint, Michigan switched the water supply from Detroit water to water from the Flint river in order to save money. Deteriorating pipes released toxic lead into the water of residents and poisoned people for more than a year. Lead is a heavy metal which cause numerous problems especially in children and fetuses but also in adults of all ages and genders. Apparently 'they' knew about the problem for more than a year and did nothing. The effects are long lasting and apparently permanent. Childrens' minds have been permanently damaged. The organs of adults have been damaged, perhaps beyond repair.

That same Flint financial manager was rescued from Flint after their crisis and then appointed to oversee the Detroit school system. This whole thing does not pass the sniff test. It sounds and smells bad.