Tuesday, December 27, 2016


My one large dead ash tree had served as homes for various chickadees, woodpeckers, titmice, brown creepers, nuthatches, etc. until sometime in the last few days. Several recent large wind storms succeeded in felling the tree, sadly. Landing on my farm fence it now provides a possible dog-bridge off my property and onto a steep bluff. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Christmas

The closest thing we got to Santa's reindeer today was a solitary deer in the rain. Does that make him/her a rain-deer? The Rain-deer stopped by the Sans Souci porch but was apparently turned away
and then wandered down to the fenced yard. The dogs thought it was lovely. Click on photos to enlarge them.

Although the waves had whitecaps, we settled in for a long day in the warm and toasty house.

This are the first flowers on this fourth generation Clivia.

I went out between a series of pouring rain storms today to try and catch and photograph the young evergreens in the soggy snow so that I would have some before and after photos - hopefully. They've now been in the ground here for three growing seasons and are beginning to look like trees, small ones to be sure, but trees regardless. Somewhere I have a few photos stored of the same area before I attacked the overgrowth on junk trees, shrubs, grapevines, bottles, cans, assorted deer skeletons, etc. If I can find them, I'll add them too.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus!

I don't get to see this view (above) of Lake Huron much of the year because the leaves of the birch bark trees hides it. I look forward to my expanded views during the "leafless" season when deciduous trees shed their leaves in order to conserve water. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

PBS had an amazing piece of Van Gogh's ear. Yes, he really did cut the whole thing off. Dr. Rey was the attending physician and this is his diagram (below) of what poor Vincent did. Rachel, the lady he gave his ear to was also identified. He might actually have met her in Paris, where she had traveled to be treated by Pasteur for a bite from a rabid dog , and later followed her to Arles where she probably worked as a cleaning lady in brothels. She was only 16. Amazing stuff.

I had no idea Arles was such an interesting town. Looked like intact Roman coliseum and amphitheater. That's a place I would love to see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Official Winter

Kersins Kata, my almost fifteen year old - January 11, 2002 - Icelandic Sheepdog, had a minor crisis this morning. She couldn't get up for a few seconds. Iris said that her vet told her that as long as they can get up - even if it's slowly, eat, pee, poop (and wag their tails) older dogs are OK. She did get up, go outside to pee, eat her breakfast, and her tail is always wagging so she's fine now.

Sunrise this morning - December 20, 2016.
Click to enlarge.

I had to travel to Sandusky, Michigan this morning to deal with a computer problem. I was unable to download a new program because I kept losing my Frontier internet connection to the web. That bad connection thing is normal here. So I went to my tech support guys and it took them no time at all to download the program. They also re-upped my anti-virus program. 

While they worked I grabbed a quick breakfast at Bob and Jamie's - decaf, one egg, hash browns, and a bagel. When I went to pay my bill, they told me it had already been paid. Anonymously. That literally made my day. I wish I knew "who". 

Sunrise Monday morning - December 19, 2016.

I binge watched three seasons of "The Vikings" DVD that Carolyn and David gave me for Christmas. I loved it (but am now in withdrawal). Our Danish family has traced our ancestry back to Harald Bluetooth and Gorm den Gamle back before the middle ages to about the 800s or so. They also say that virtually everyone in Denmark also can trace back to them. Seems like there was a lot of bed hopping going on then too. I did not know that Bluetooth devices were named after Harald.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sunday, December 17, 2016

We've had two large snowstorms this week which, I think, is unusual for early December. We've all been told that global warming aka climate change is going to make the weather extremes, well, even more extreme. Deniers, who apparently cannot read or listen to the 97% of climate scientists who claim this is happening and will accelerate, cite these very cold and snowy conditions as proof that the earth is not getting warmer. They apparently do not understand what is obvious to most of us. The new norm is colder winters alternating with warmer summers and extreme weather conditions in all seasons. Yay. 

Clicking on photos will enlarge them.
Moon over Sans Souci (aka the pole barn).

 Kids growing up today will think that this is normal, and it will be for them.

I haven't shoveled or swept the east deck leaving the undisturbed snow glistening in the sunlight. Snow here, unlike back in Royal Oak, stays white. The grimy, dirty snow of the city does nothing to lessen unrelenting bleak, gray winter doldrums.

Feeding birds gives the dogs, cats and me something to watch and enjoy. Yes, I know it's expensive but so are drugs, gambling, booze, travel, etc. and this gives me continual pleasure all winter. I remember mourning (morning) doves cooing at our cottage summers on Silver Lake near South Lyon and they have remained one of my favorite birds. I wonder what the passenger pigeons were like. This era is now called the anthropocene because the rate and number of extinctions due to us (humans) continues to accelerate. It is going to be a much changed world that we leave behind. I am sure the world will survive - with us or without us.

It will still be some time before Lake Huron is frozen; the freighters are still plying the waters.

After the first snowstorm on the way to Deckerville I found myself behind a fast traveling snowplow sending out snow plumes reminiscent of the waves fast moving motorboats make on lakes in the summer. I was afraid to get too close in case, blinded by the snow, I ran into the plow or, an approaching car got sidetracked and ended up in my lane. There is very little traffic now, however, and things went swimmingly, er, icily.

 My Bonsai Jul Camellia is blossoming a little earlier than it usually does. It arrived as a toothpick sized stick with about half a dozen leaves about fifteen years ago. I realize that people down south have them as shrubs in the yards; up north their winter flowers are a amazing reward for summer long patience.

I received a great Jul present - three seasons of the Vikings on DVD - but there was no card so I don't know who sent it. I have an idea but - - - - -. Because I'm snowed in for a while, I started watching and I'm hooked. It seems to me with my somewhat limited knowledge, that it is fairly accurate historically.

Kappu and Korpur

(Please click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Merlin Returns! Monday, December 12, 2016

It has snowed for more than 24 hours now; we woke up to a world metamorphosed by snow. Lovely, white snow. Back in the city the white snow lasts only a few hours because of snow plows, pollution, traffic, etc. Here it lasts for days.

I have decided to stop calling Xmas trees, Xmas trees. The custom was borrowed by the "Church" from northern European tribes that used them for Jul celebrations so I'm going to try and call them Jul trees now. Let's see how long that lasts, OK? As most people know, Jesus was born in the spring. The "pagan" holiday Jul was a celebration for when the shortening days stopped and days started getting longer again. After December 21, the days start to get longer again as we journey around the sun.

Regardless, here are "my" Jul trees this morning.
Snow and ice decorate them and they are alive.
Click to enlarge.

"My" hawk returned and I'm so glad. Perhaps someone can help me identify her/him. I think it's a Merlin or Pigeon Hawk and probably either a female or a young one. She's about a meter/yard from one of my feeders. When she flies in, the birds scatter and the dogs bark. She must be successful because she does come back. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Rick Conquergood arrived while I was typing; I didn't hear his truck but the dogs did. Driveway all plowed both to the house (San Salvatore) and the pole barn (Sans Souci). With my garbage I walked up to the road this morning to put it by Lakeshore Road to be picked up. LOVELY walk in the dark. I saw deer, fox, and mice tracks in the snow. It doe not get better than that.

Sunrises - First Full Week of December

The Icelandic Sheepdogs and I take several walks a day starting with an invigorating stroll the first thing in the morning. Although officially winter, so far it hasn't been cold and we haven't had snow so I still can enjoy those together times.. The sunrises are amazing; I never get bored with them.

Here are three from this week.



I realize Real Winter might arrive soon but so far we're loving it.

I've completely removed coffee (caffeine) and salt from my diet and, as a result, my blood pressure, which was very, very high at the doctors has improved lots. At first I had caffeine withdrawal symptoms but after about two or three days my body adjusted. I never drank coffee during my working years. However, once I retired I guess I slowly became addicted to it.

I've replaced my morning cups - yes, often several - of coffee with chamomile tea. Of course I missed the coffee at first  but I've found now that the chamomile is a great replacement. I guess part of the reason I liked coffee is that I had to stop and spend some time waking up before I got started on the day's activities. I could watch the morning's news with a cuppa. I stopped watching the national news the day after the election. There's blame all around for the disaster in the making but I particularly blame the media for not doing their job: Report the news and dig into the facts behind the headlines. They. Did. Not. Dig. I suspect what is happening here, now, has happened throughout history so it's not new. I guess I never thought it would happen here though. With what time is left to me I don't want to spend it agonizing about unfolding events.