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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The last of April

In other words I won't be making a blog post before May is upon us. I know, Sara you just make me look bad with your daily postings. I just don't have it in me. People in your life want to see your human children more regularly than my canine kids. And let's face it, you're kids are more interactive with the blog than mine.

And on that note, I want to share some other peoples pictures with my audience today. I check out APOD or Astronomy Picture Of the Day on a regular basis. Maybe not daily, but most days, then I check the older ones I missed. Today's made me think of my friend Betsy and I thought I'd share it with everyone.
It's a husky in the sky! An Iditarod racer leaping through the stars. Anyway, enough of that crap, this was a picture snapped with a long 15 sec exposure near Fairbanks AK last month by a Mr John Chumack. It does truly look like a husky to me and the long exposure caught a lot of familiar stars to us northerners. Going clockwise let me see if I can recall what these all are... At the top is the Big Dipper. The bright white star to about 1 o'clock is Capella in the constellation Auriga. It is also the 6th brightest star in the night sky. The grouping of the starts there in the upper right corner is more of that constellation. The bright body in the auroral band of the front legs right at about 3 o'clock is Jupiter. Down from Jupiter toward the edge of the image is Betelguese or for many better known as the left shoulder of Orion. I do believe it in the top 20 brightest stars in the sky as well. The next bright object seen is Procyon in from the edge below the red body of Betelgeuse. Procyon is 8th brightest star in the night but is actually a binary star system. We can't see it's partner in shine there because Procyon is to bright and hides it from the beaked eye. Below Procyon out of the view of this image under the horizon is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. Then if you look left towards 8 o'clock you will see the shining red Mars in the sky. Then almost directly above Mars on the edge of the tail you will see Arcturus, which is the fourth brightest star behind Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri. Arcturus is part of the constellation Bootes. Okay, enough constellation education.

The other image I wanted to share with everyone is one from Betsy's blog. She took a really neat photo of one of my favorite dogs in the whole world. Behold, BLOSSOM!!!
Okay, so Betsy is an awesome photographer and you should look at her blog you can follow that above link to just because, but I just really liked this photo. Blossom is a puddle dog, and it captures her spirit well. And it's just neat how her reflections clearer than she is.
So, that's enough of other peoples work, let's talk about me today. Well, let's talk about today. I don't know about you all but it's wet here today. We're getting rain, which will help the spring come on a bit faster since it's been kind of dry after all the snow melted.
I don't mind rain. In fact, I love driving in it. It's just one of those things. What I never liked were the endless summers of it when every pair of boots yo own are damp and muddy. More than that, back home you would have summers that weren't wet, but weren't sunny either. They were just gray. Steel skied and oppressive. I used to joke that Anchorage looked like Gotham in the original batman movies You remember the ones with Michael Keaton as batman.
Anyway, I snapped these photos over the last couple days while walking the kiddos with my big camera. As you can see, things are a little more in focus.
Any day now the trees will be in full leaf glory. Until then, you can see, they're creeping out.
I can't wait! It was kind of funny though,I'm so unused to being around large trees anymore, I was walking with some locals yesterday and they noticed me jump and look up and asked me what was wrong. I explained to them that with the wind and the trees smacking together I was finding that I seemed to have developed a phobia living in Wyoming that a tree was going to fall on me. I told this to the guy yesterday and he kind of laughed at me I think, then when we were out walking the dogs and the wind was up the trees started moving him and I saw him kind of jump and look up too. It's not just me. Part of it though is you can see in the above pictures that this is a replanted wood. See all the trees in a line? Yeah, they didn't grow in at a natural distance or arrangement so they tend to make more noise than some of the other areas we walk in.
Someone asked the other day about how the old girl is doing. She's still trucking. You can see here that she still likes her walks. Her vision seems to be getting worse and she's been deaf for over a year now so she has to keep a leash attached so we can remind her to stay on trail with us. Sometimes I attach her to one of the boys which they all seem to go along with except Tucker.
He mopes if you do it and hangs way back with her. What a drama queen.
Sullivan and Emmitt don't seem to mind it though. I was watching her the other night on her evening ramblings and thought to myself "If I didn't know better I would swear that she has sun downers. Guess what, I looked it up and dogs can get sun downers. In fact reading through the signs and symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, it sounds like her. Oh well, you get old your mind starts to go. Still love her ancient ass, and a dog can't make it to 18 without some issues. Now if she starts peeing everywhere and doesn't know who we or the other dogs are and doesn't take any comfort in us, then we'll have to look at doing something, but until then we'll keep on loving her senile self.
Sorry, no Emmitt pictures this week. None of them turned out. However these two photos are for you Betsy. I found you some fungi. I know how you are. These little yellow ones I think were taken with my little camera since I was on a dog run when I saw them.
This neat log however is just covered by these little shelf fungi. This one is we see daily as it's on our regular route. I shouldn't say regular, it's about to change as soon as we move. I still need to find some trails down in that area.
I was looking at this next months schedule and was aghast to see myself only working 2 days over the last two weeks of the month. Then I recalled that on the 20th we take possession so I will be cleaning the new house to prep moving in. Then the 22nd we move, and I will spend the next few days scrubbing the apartment in preparation to turn over keys at the end of the month. All in all, I think the days off will be used, and used well.
Lucky dogs, don't even know what good tenants they have. the apartment has been livable, but not ideal for us and the dogs. But it is almost at an end.
This picture is a repeat of the tree I had last time that I wanted to show the neat bark texture. I got a better picture of it with a creeper that is working it's way up to the canopy.
And an even better picture of it. I just thought the texture of the bark was cool. There's a few of them out there that I've seen.
Here is was trying to find out if this old tree was hollow all the way up to where it has broken off. I couldn't fit my head in and look up so I stuck the camera in. Nope, not hollow all the way up.
Well, that's about it for the day. I need to get these guys out and get some stuff done before meeting the guy this afternoon. I hope you all have a great day.
Uh oh, forgot something. Remember how I said I was hoping to get the scarf done the other night. Yeah... still not done.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Before I get Lazy

It's a blustery bugger of a day here today. The weather is supposed to be moving in over the next 24 hours and it's not been very nice to walk today. Not that has stopped us Wymingites mind you. I even got inspired and ran Tucker and Sullivan yesterday in the cold wind (Okay, so it was a whopping 38 degrees, but running into it makes it feel like you're freezing your face off), while Bob corrected the issue of Emmitt rolling in something nasty(poo) on his first dog walk of the morning. As it turned out, it couldn't be corrected with an apartment bath and the dog bath weekend got bumped up by a week.
"Who, me?" Yes you, you little shit roller.
However, before I get side tracked with a nice warm cup of tea and some knitting I thought I'd throw up a blog post. I haven't done a real honest to goodness post with any real content in it lately. Know what I mean?
So today, I am going to give you one. And with pictures too! Though I think my little Canon Elph is dying. The though makes me a little sad, it's been such a good little camera.
Well, you know what they say about all good things.
Sullivan pretending to be road kill.
If it feels that good it must be bad? No, no, I mean about all good things must come to an end. You guys are dirty minded.
On the look out for squirrels. Squirrels are eeeevvvvilllllllll.
But that's what I love about you all. But, let's discuss. We got the house. Have I told you that yet? We are officially closed, though we don't take possession until the 20th of May. I know, I know, it feels like it will never end here in the apartment, but it will. I promise. We will officially move in with the help of "Three Guys and a Truck" on Thursday the 22nd. So I will have two whole days to dig in, clean, and take pictures to share with you all. I will try to get those up before we move internet stuff. The kids are going to love having a yard of their own where they can chase squirrels to their hearts delight.
Don't judge them, we all need hobbies.

Speaking of hobbies, I am in the knitting slump. Knitters know what I'm talking about. That point that happens occasionally (for me it's always spring) when you hate everything that's on your needles.    No matter how much you try to tell yourself you should get back to it, you just can't force yourself to work on them.
See what I mean by the camera dying? Everything is blurry out of it lately.
I have this shawl that's been shoved to a corner in order to ignore it easier.
And this scarf that I hope desperately to wrap up today. Yeah right you shmuck Fingers crossed! It's good to dream... Seriously though, I was thinking today at breakfast that I was looking forward to getting back to some socks. Yeah, we're at that point.

Speaking of breakfast, we went to this neat little diner called the Red Jet Cafe. We've been there for dinner before which was very good. It's in an old building that we though had used to be a bank and turns out is an old library. Breakfast was very good but they need a busser/host. They only have three waitresses that for the number of tables would be fine if they weren't also having to bus them all themselves. They get backed up doing that and are unable to check back on their tables. But the food, and the service they can provide are very good.
All in all, I have to say that I am liking Michigan. The area itself is beautiful. It has been fun finding new places to walk the kids and learn about a new ecology and local history. The other night I was on the Provin trails and there was just beautiful evening light so I took them back there last night to try to snap a couple pictures.
When I was running them out at Luton Park the other day I discovered there are miles of trails out there that I wasn't aware of. If I didn't have a general idea where we were and that the trails were a big loop I would have said we were lost, but the boys loved getting out and stretching out those legs and muscles. I was enjoying listening to the frogs sing as we wound are way through the trees.
And though it's been a cooler week, spring is still edging in. The 30 degree nights definitely slowed the trees down a bit, but do you see all that green haze to the right of the pine? Those are buds and leaves! Not to mention even the moss is greening back up. So soon. Sorry, I tried to get up close pictures but the camera refused to focus. It's not even focussing on other things, just everything as you can see in the pictures above are slightly blurry.
More of that beautiful golden light that was filtering under the pines as the sun dipped down.
Turned out I was just in time since there was a cloud bank over Lake Michigan that the sun sank into just after I snapped these shots. the light never cam back on our two loops of the park.
The light was really faded here but I loved the texture of this trees bark. No idea what kind it is.

It's been so much fun learning about the platens of the area. Even the not so much fun kind of plants like Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac that are all found in the area. Let's face it, pictures like these are just kind of horrifyingly neat to look at. And hey, for all those that know me and my love of little facts and trivia, this stuff is just so neat to read about to me. I know, I should have probably been a science teacher. Oh, except I hate kids.
Okay, so I don't hate kids, just other peoples kids. Okay, so it's just other people I hate. Okay okay, I don't hate other people but I have my moments. This last week while walking the dogs I had some woman state "Jesus Christ, do you have enough F#$%'n dogs?". Seriously, I'm not kidding. She had this whiny little voice to go with her pug face, was on the other side of the trail from us and I had the kids in a sit and stay on our side of the trail as I was picking up poop. Before I could stop it I said in an approximation of her voice, "Jesus Christ, can you mind you're own F#$%'n business?" Which she then stated to not talk to her like that and all of us in this town are so rude. So, It's completely okay for her to cuss and be rude but not for me? Sullivan, take her down. Kidding, I simply stated that unless my dogs were acting aggressively or unruly towards her and had she been in some position to uphold any laws or codes that we were breaking that is was none of her business and maybe if she wasn't such a bitch in her behavior and manner of speaking people wouldn't tell her so. Then we kept walking while I thought that there was a better way for me to phrase what I said with less profane language than I had used. And that perhaps I didn't ned to imitate her manner of speaking  with my first response. Sometimes, when everyones an asshole, maybe it's you that's the asshole? So we walked, went home and ate.  I did take some relish that this occurred in Rockford, a little town I really like and spend a lot of time in, to the north of Grand Rapids, but not my town. I felt a kinship with it knowing that other people there had possibly spoke to her as I had since she thought we were all so rude.
Remember those little red flowering bodies? Well, they have seeded and now have leaves coming out. I know it's blurry but believe me, that's what you're looking at.
So, there's my post for the week everyone. I will be back soon though and get to checking out the other blogs better. I promise. More to come on the place as we get closer. And speaking of getting closer, my fellow TdF'ers, July 5th is sneaking up on us...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tune Tuesday!

So, years ago I did a vlog post that featured Mishall Moore. I still follow her channel and over the last year she has started to collaborate with Richard Cortez.

They call themselves Baker.

I think this video is the best of this song. There is something about the acoustics of the car that I prefer over their studio version. And you get a bit of their personality out of it too, and I think I could get along with these two.

If you dig it, head on over to her link and like the tune and it's video. They sing at this point only original compositions that the two of them have written. I feel like they are both talented and ww may be seeing or hearing more of them at some point.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

You Too Can Celebrate Jesus's Second Birthday!

How you ask? Well here's my recipe for delicious Holy Day Juice(This one's for you Millie):

One bottle Yellowtail Sangria

One Package Black Berries
One Pear (cored and sliced)
Pineapple cut into chunks
One Orange Halved and wedged.
Combine all ingredients into a picture and let soak in the fridge for a couple hours. Poor, spoon, or just take your Sangia and fruit directly from the picture and enjoy.
Lifted from
Don't feel guilty, remember that Jesus was such a wino that he made it at all the parties by miraculous transfiguration and admitted that his now blood alcohol content was high enough that to drink this wine is to drink the blood of christ.
Lifted from
Remember, I was raised Catholic. I only took the guilt and the reasoning to make myself feel better about it all from the religion. Don't roll your eyes, those are some good life skills to have.

Speaking of drinking and catholics, "What's the difference between Catholics and Baptists? Catholics acknowledge each other in the liquor store."

Now, enough of the sacrilegious stuff. It's funny but gets old. Truly I just wanted to log on and say "Hi", let you all know it's just been a bit of a crazy week. I covered some hours for someone and that made me rearrange my schedule a bit so I never got around to posting a blog. As I was chopping my fruit for Sangria (It just sounded good...), I thought I should share the recipe, and this little tip. The wine soaked fruit is the best part. Especially the orange.

I promise, I'll be back for a real post. I will work on getting some more photos too. I haven't even got photos to show for my week! Now that's a bit of crazy pie right there especially considering I have been traipsing all over the state to buy yarn in the West Michigan Yarn Shop Hop.

Have a good holiday! I'll leave you with the well stated words of Miranda Lambert.

"‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet He’d understand a heart like mine"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Guess What? Goose Butt!

So, I've been snapping shots constantly the last couple days. Spring is here and I seem to have an eagerness to catch it in my view finder.
I've had a sinus headache the last couple days and yesterday while walking the kids down at Roselle park where the flood waters have receded I saw these...
That's right, the cottonwoods are blooming, which explains the allergies.Which it has to happen, so we'll take it and the zyrtec and move on with life.

So to day is just a quick sharing of some shots I've taken over the last few days. Well, actually I am going to step bag and look at some pics from early this week when there was still some more snow on the ground.
Or at least you didn't have to look hard to find it. These are some ski trails we found that it appears the neighborhood that is right through the trees uses as a "dog park" when the trails are no longer skiable. They are an odd mix of pine forest and sand dune.

When we first found them it was odd because one side as seen here that goes around the eastern side of the dune was still very frozen and treacherously slick to walk on. Shiela in fact slipped and yanked me down with her, then yesterday I slipped and kicked her rear legs out from under her. Poor kid.
Here she is plodding along after us after I let her deaf self off leash so she wouldn't be so close to me for that to happen again. That's the leash hanging over her shoulder.
The Western side that is also downhill is completely thawed that you can see here. We learned quicker it's easier to walk down the thawed side and up the slick side. When you try to go down the slick side you were often sliding on your bum.
I scrambled to get these photos before our temps climbed enough to get rid of our snow.

I'm loving the trees here, can you tell?
I hunted for these really thin leaves after seeing them the other day. I finally realized that they were only on the trail in one spot and one spot only. Right under this tree.
As far as I can tell it's the only one of it's kind on the trail. This and one of the oak species seems to keep a hold of their leaves through the winter. They are now dropping them as they get ready to have new leaf growth. A Black and white version of this photos is what I placed on's Nature in Black and White assignment for us hobbyist photographers.
Someone found a stick! Oh Boy.

I found this downed tree and was amazed by the color of the trunk.
Then while I was walking through more of the live trees I realized that between the pine cones on the ground and the trunks, that the woods were comprised of two different types of pine. You can see the lighter trunks that look purple when they go down, and the darker trunks mixed in through them.

These last few were taken just yesterday and this morning after a couple of warmer days.
And then there's the dune I spoke of. The entire thing of woods seems to be an old dune or moraine that is exposed on the southern side.
Here's Tucker who found himself a stick in the dunes.
And of course, what good is a stick if you don't tease your "little" brother with it?
The rest of the pictures are from other areas down near the river and after are day time temps jumped up to around the 60 degree mark.
A lot of them are from Roselle park, the park that I took the flooded pictures from last week. Yesterday we wondered down there and found that the waters had receded from the trail itself entirely.
And with receding floods, comes new green.

But there's still last years growth to be found as well.

And the water is completely down to where it belongs yet.
I think this poor goose was injured. It never lifted it's head up, but was swimming around with and against the current so it didn't seem to be stuck on anything.
There's an observation deck down near the river. Got the kids to pose on it for me.
But like any family portrait I only got two decent pictures out of the couple of dozen I snapped. Between Emmitt yawning, Tucker taking interest in the sky and Shiela and Sullivan blinking, I was lucky to get any.
Happy Little Brats.
While we were there, this guy flew over as well.
I believe it's a sandhill crane. Can't say for sure, but it's call made me think of the Sandhill Cranes back home.
I've walked by this set of stones a few times now but just realized the other day that the pair in front used to be just one. Looks like a fragile sedimentary stone that was possibly the matrix that the rounder one to the rear may have been concreted in from the patchy lighter material on the side.

However this is the picture I really wanted to share. Wednesday morning early, to early for these guys to be out, we heard something in the leaves off the boardwalk and here was this guy.
The first snake of the year! I think it's either a water snake, or a garter that needs to shed. It's got the grayish look and due to the odd time it was moving around and the way it was moving that it was in fact trying got shed it's winter skin. There is a lighter stripe you can barely see on the back and I bet if it shed it would be dark del brown almost black with a bright stripe. In other words, a garter snake. Either way, it excited me.

And you may remember that I mentioned I posted a picture to Betsy got me hooked on the yourshot program through National Geographic. So much so that I have tried to become a little more serious about carrying my camera and even got a bigger SD card for my camera in the effort to shoot in a larger format for better picture resolution. I was once again amazed that I spent 30.00 on a high quality 32 gigabyte card, and remembered that I spent at least that on my first card for a camera I bought something I believe in 2007 that was 512 megabytes? The leaps our technology has taken and the drop in prices is just incredible.
Anyway, this picture I snapped quick the other morning when they had a photo assignment called "Home". You were to take a picture of something that spoke of home to you. I was thinking, what means home to me? And it's an easy answer. My dogs. I can relax wherever my kids can. Despite not loving the apartment, I realize that when my kids can ignore the sounds lot life around us and snooze, I seem to be able to as well.
The original picture wasn't black and white but I thought it was better with the color washed out at least a bit. I also really like this "antiqued" version. I learned the lesson that in the "RAW" format that I have been shooting in, I can't choose to take black and white or sepia toned photos. The RAW format only takes the data and you can play with such coloring on the computer later. It was a good little lesson to know for later photos.

I also took the morning of the snake encounter this video I wanted to share. I had just taken the pictures of the goose butt and turned around and saw the water reflecting the rising suns light on the trees behind me. Between it and the birdsong it was a very tranquil moment. Then Emmitt pooped and we went on with life... Isn't that the way it goes?

Okay, off to bed with me. I'm exhausted and have to work tomorrow. We just kicked off this years yarn shop crawl today. I'm beat.