Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Our Hearts Ache

These amazing and wonderful companions who all passed away very recently will always be in our hearts and minds





Birta and Sandi, Belle and Iris, Lily and Christine, Kata and Jaime, not pictured are Betsy and Slider and Kathy

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February Thaw? February 17, 2018

My Icelandic Sheepdogs Korpur and Kata are experiencing longer days as the sun rises earlier and sets later. Korpur wants everyone to know that's snow on his face not dandruff. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

First Light This Morning

 Yesterday on an iceberg larger than this one I saw an adult pair of bald eagles apparently feeding on a fish. I didn't have my camera ready - charging the battery - so by the time I got things reassembled, they were gone.

Whether they are "mourning doves" or "morning doves" I love them. Their plaintive cooing is evocative on summer mornings.

There's a pile of wood chips back by the pole barn left from when workers were clearing branches and trees from the overhead electric wires. Perhaps this spring I will move them to the garden areas. Today two of my deer were enjoying playing king (or queen) of the mountain - well, hill actually. Last year a doe had triplets; I still see mom and babes although they are almost fully grown now. These are two of the three fawns. Heat from the decaying chips often melts snow on the top making it look like a friar's haircut or a kippa.

I opened a new box today!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pine/Spruce Seeds

Notice the reflection of the faint February sun on a patch of open water this morning on Lake Huron. The Game of Thrones Rock had a cap of snow-frosting. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Beach combing finds are turned into found art here. We've found some great pieces of driftwood and even a piece of rusty metal with embedded stones. Imagination turns them into memories.

I'm lucky that I have a short walk to my mailbox. (I've been told that's because of a certain politician whose mistress used to live on my road. Things happened, concessions were made to make life easier for her.That may or not have been true. Regardless, I benefited.) On the walk through the snow this afternoon I noticed dozens of tiny maple-tree-like seeds from the spruce trees wind-scattered on top of the fresh snow. The penny is for size comparison. If you can remember those helicopter-like maple seeds, look at their tiny counterparts from the evergreen trees. The conifers predate the more recent arrival of deciduous trees. A successful strategy persists.

Looking back at the house from the mailbox. More snow tonight and tomorrow. February. The shortness of the month belies its weather. (Does that sentence make sense?) February has always seemed like the longest month to me. The goldfinches are patiently waiting in their tree for me to add more niger to their feeder. (And the hawks are probably waiting too.)

Tail Feathers - Thursday, February 8, 2018

A few years ago we collected photos of our fluffy-butted Icelandic Sheepdogs' tails. I thought it was time to look at some of them again. Everyone, EVERYONE, has their favorite tail; it shouldn't surprise anyone that the tails their dogs have are exactly what they think all tails should look like. That's only natural.

Here are some of the great tails our dogs have. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

If you have a favorite tail and it doesn't look like any of those above, please send me a photo and I'll add it. Tails (and butts) only please. (It would be great if you'd also include your dog's name, its official registered name. I won't use it but it would be nice to have anyway.) I've noticed that tails that are too relaxed seem like that even with careful breeding they may be hard to fix , hard to improve, genetically. I don't know if that's true but they do seem to persist for several generations.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - Snow (Again)

It's no use. I have tried to "adopt" (buy) several puppies over the past three or four months - unsuccessfully.The most recent was the reverse-pied tricolor female from Switzerland; then there was the tricolor chocolate-brown and tan with very little white female from Germany; and then a nice male from Iceland. Am I paranoid; are people refusing to sell me pups; or is it that once I've expressed interest, the puppy I would like suddenly seems more valuable to the breeders and they decide to keep it. Most likely I'm just imagining things. Winter seems long and perhaps that feeds my incipient paranoia.

"Where are the goldfinches? (With apologies to "Where's Waldo?) How many goldfinches can you find camouflaged among the snow-capped berries of this species (wild) viburnum? Clicking on photos enlarges them.

My Icelandic Sheepdogs seem unaware of my imaginings and are scattered around the house in two piles with one singleton. Korpur thinks he's special; maybe the cover photo on my new book has gone to his head so he doesn't want to associate with dogs who were mere page turners. Peace, perfect peace. The deer, apparently hunkered down under the protection of low lying evergreen branches, have disappeared from view perhaps in reaction to changing barometric pressure. Smart? Or great instincts?

Bear, Kata, Pila


Totty, Kria, Kit

Several years ago I bought a smallish orchid, perhaps one of the hybrids between a Cattleya, a  Laelia, and a Brassavola or a Sophronitis. With limited space in my new home I now prefer smaller orchids BUT; life is short and flowers still must look nice and smell nice and be easy in culture. I have divided it several times and now have six plants which all reliably produce twin flowers in the winter. I have enough flowers outside in summers; I need escape from the weather in the winter. (Phalaenopsis are nice but they don't smell.)

After my cardinal-killer-peregrine attack, I thought I would be red-bird-less for the rest of the winter. Then this afternoon I spied a cardinal female at the feeder and soon after a justifiably shy male appeared lingering in the protection of three cedars in my north forest.

I recently discovered Armand Gamache, the Louise Penny Quebec Surete detective from her series of books. Perfect reading for Michigan winters. Years ago I vacationed in Montreal and loved that great Francophone city. Perhaps it's time to escape the politics here and visit again. The scenes in the mythic city of Three Pines are so evocatively French that I've been missing my trips and summer graduate studies at universities in France. Those were the days - - - - - - . The food. The people. The museums. The wine. The cafes. The food. The history. The coffee. The culture. The food. The restaurants. The pastries. The conversations. The wine. The buildings. The food.