Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Colors are Fading Fast ~ October 23, 2016

I've been busy lately!  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love to be out and about in the woods and enjoy the wonderful colors.   This year, up here, was kind of disappointing.   The colors came, here and there, with a red tree here and faded golds there.   It was strange.  The really pretty trees would shed before the greens even started to change on the neighboring tree.  Once the popples all turned to gold, that was amazing.  But, even they were not consistent in their color change.   Some were dead brown and shedding while others were green.   It has been a mild Autumn, for sure.   It was way out in October before I had the first frost up here in the valley.  That is unheard of.  I even asked my dad if he remembered ever going through September without a frost.  He didn't.  He's 85!   I have said, many times, that the only month I had seen without a frost here ~ is July!  Well, this year changed that.   Even now, my petunias are still blooming nicely in the pots on the deck as are the geraniums.  The moss roses bit it in one of the recent frosts.  But, even some of the garden is still growing and producing.   However, we are in the process of getting that all harvested.   Most of the carrots are in and all the potatoes dug ~ as of yesterday.  Still have rutabagas to pull and some turnips.  I just pull a turnip as I want one to eat tho.   Broccoli is still producing smaller, later bite size heads.   As I said ~ a wonderful Fall!
Recently, we went on a short trip.   Left on a Tuesday and got back Sunday evening.  We left via Wisconsin.   The colors were amazing.  However, we had very heavy clouds all day so I never took a photo.   The sumacs had some of the most amazing oranges I had ever seen.  Usually I just see them in their Autumn red coats.   Got up onto the Keweenaw and out to Copper Harbor.   Amazing colors in the maples.  But, even there, many places had plenty of greens too.  We stopped and hiked into some of the beautiful sights in Munising.   I love that area.   I would really love to go there with my kayak in the summer and really check that area out completely.   So many neat natural spots of beauty there.  This above photo is in Canada looking toward Nipigon.  So many times on this trip, if there was something really beautiful to see, there was no place to pull over and stop for photo ops!   Plus, it was raining or cloudy a lot of it.  That part was really disappointing.  In Copper Harbor I was out in the howling wind and rain, trying my darnedest to get a good shot and not have it completely water spotted.  That was easier said than done, believe me.  But, I got some nice shots in spite of the gray sky.   Our destination was to visit Manitoulin Island and the Georgian Bay area.  We spent two days exploring the big island.  A beautiful place, for sure.   Wouldn't mind exploring some of that area again in nice weather.
On the last night of our trip ~ we were traveling in our pickup with a camper on ~ we stayed at a motel in Wawa and ate at a restaurant!!  Imagine that.  This was Sunday morning.  We actually got up to sunshine!  What a pretty morning.  Two hours later, it was completely clouded over again for a couple of hours before the sun returned.   You see Betsy and Bruce enjoying the shoreline and the morning here.  
Here is another roadside shot getting closer to the Nipigon area.   Golds were in fine form here.   Another thing I forget, since I go so seldom, is the very steep and long hills over on the Canadian side of Lake Superior.  Wow!  I'd hate to be biking them in summer heat.   That gets to be work, after a while.
Anyway ~ we are settling back into our Fall routine of getting everything ready for winter.  My deer friends were happy to see us back.  They came on a run from the various spots they were laying in the yard when we pulled in.   Just how dare we leave them for all those days and no treats to be had!!!   They are pretty funny some times.  Several have gotten into the habit of touching noses with Betsy these days.   She can get pretty friendly with them and have them unperturbed.  She has even gotten her face washed a few times.  Too funny!   Glad they get along so well.  
With that ~ I will leave you with a yesterday's photo of Betsy ~ posing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 13, 2016 Autumn is coming!

Fall is coming ~ we just never quite know when it will happen.  It is the season to start getting those things done that we need done before winter sets in.   A few of the maples are coloring up and some of the leaves falling already.  The last of the late summer flowers, like the asters above, are blooming nicely.   The deer have almost all gotten their winter brown coats on now.   Yes, it's coming.
I have been out trying to get all the trail work done, even tho it is quite a bit warmer and more humid than I appreciate when doing that work.  I made a lot of miles yesterday, between walking dogs, trail work so the mower could pass and then, mowing itself.  The trees just keep coming down this year.  Lots of wind.   I manhandle anything I can off the trails ~ like rotten birches that keep falling!  They aren't light, but ~ many will break off or are able to be pulled off trails.  Same with popples or balsam.  I don't like having to chainsaw them as so many are rotten and dirty in there, all they do is make dull chainsaws in a hurry.   But, there is never a shortage of solid downed trees that need to be cut up to move either.  Got a good start on mowing yesterday ~ more to come!
Here is a current shot of Shadow.  You can sort of see the white spot over her left eye ~ tho the angle isn't good.   She has been really mushy lately and liking her attention.   She is 9 1/2  years old now.  She has more time to hang around and be friendly these days as she, along with a good many other does, lost their this years' fawns to the wolves.  I should add, Shadow has never lost her fawns to the wolves before.  They have all made it at least to one year of age.  Her first born was gotten by the wolves just before she turned two.  The wolves have not gone away this summer.  We have seen them, on average, once a week.  Sorry to say ~ that is too often.  I'm not a wolf hater, never have been ~ but, they sure are getting way too much confidence about being in people's yards, up close and personal, since there are no consequences these days.  I do have a problem with that.  Just about everyone up here has pets.   Some have small children.  I saw one of the wolves come out of their driveway one day about 4 p.m. when Betsy and I were taking a quick walk.  One of their chickens went missing that same day.   It's an accident waiting to happen.
Since there has been a lot of wind, there has been a lot of waves too.   This is a time of year a lot of people are still trying to fish on Lake Superior.   The big waves haven't helped that.  They weren't real big yet this particular day ~ but, they are working on it.  Way bigger than what makes pleasant fishing.
The gardens have been doing well.  It is so nice to just walk out to the garden, this time of year, and pick what you want to eat that evening and have it nice and fresh.  I really would enjoy being able to pick veggies year around.   But, that would be hard living here ~ and I like living here!
Betsy is doing well these days.   She sure is always ready for a new adventure.   Toby really did teach her well.   These days, we are walking dogs too ~ so, she gets lots of canine companionship, which she enjoys.
I've been keeping busy and haven't been too inclined to sit down and write.   I have thought about a few good political rants.  That may still happen.  But, I will leave it for another day.  The circus that is politics these days always keep you listening.   I still find it strange that the two people we have to vote for are so unpopular.  It boggles my mind that anyone with a brain would ever vote for Hillary ~ given her and her husband's 30 years of treachery and deceit ~ and lying!!!  Honestly, I can't believe the Democrats couldn't find someone better than that.  I've said it before, I'll say it again ~ it'll be a cold day in Hell before I'd ever vote for Hillary!  And, with that said, I better quit before I get a full blown rant going.......

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22, 2016 Too Stinkin' Hot!!

Yesterday, Betsy and I went to Tom Lake to swim because it was too stinkin' hot to do other things!   Well, they finally started working on the roads up there and oh boy, what a mess.   They should have closed the road while they worked if they were going to make that much mess.  Needless to say, I opted to not head up the trail, today, because I knew it wouldn't be much better.   89 degrees is too hot with this humidity!
So, today we just headed to Lake Superior.  I got in, all the way, twice.  But, the water is cold ~ offshore wind.   It's actually hotter by Lake Superior than inland.  But, both places are too hot.  I had intended to stay there a while and play in the water to stay cool.  But, with the heat, the biting flies that one finds on the nice days of summer, came out.  They were chewing the heck out of Betsy and me.  We made it about an hour and headed home.  Neither of us could stand the flies any longer!

So ~ we have summer ~ and it's too hot to enjoy it!!!

Friday, July 8, 2016

July 8, 2016 Busy Summer Days!

On this particular Sunday afternoon, recently, Betsy and I were enjoying a day by one of the inland lakes instead of Lake Superior.  It was warm and humid ~ and I was entertaining ideas of going swimming for the first time for the season.  It was quite windy when I left here so I didn't bring along the paddle board or kayak.   But, between the strong wind blowing in right there and a lot of dark clouds intermixed with the fluffy ones, it wasn't that warm.  So ~ no swims for me that day!
We have gotten through the busiest time of the summer for me ~ now that the Hovland Arts Festival is done with for another summer.   I have to say I was feeling a bit stressed about pulling that off this year.  The dates for it are put out there well in advance to every one who is helping or in on it.  Right up to the last couple of days, the gravel piles were still not leveled and there was no place to park.  On the other side, the construction of the new roof on the church was making for shingles and trailers and stuff parked everywhere.  I was getting pretty hot and bothered!   The crew wasn't going to be working on the church over that weekend so they kindly got all their stuff moved.   On the other side of the town hall, things weren't progressing so well.   I finally had to make some calls and get a fire lit under them.   That project was let almost a full 4 years ago.  It was supposed to be done by the HAF last year.   Then, the commissioner told me it would get done right after our last years HAF.   Well, here we were, at this point, less than a week to our HAF this year.  Nothing was yet done.  NOTHING!!!  Would you be running out of patience yet?   I told them that the kids in the community were going to be all grown up before they ever got the project done at the rate it was going.   Plus, at this point, I wasn't the only person upset about it.   Well ~ I started "squeaking" and part of it got sort of done.  Long way to go tho.  Now that the others have started to speak up as well ~ maybe, just maybe, they can finish the project.  The HAF went fine and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.   So ~ now I can go in and do my volunteer duties at the Grand Marais Art Fair this weekend!
Getting to other things at present ~ summer flowers!   We have had a lot of rain and they couldn't be much prettier this summer.  There are lots and they are thick.  It is just a pleasure to see them all.   I love wildflowers.  This is a great year for anyone who does to get out there and enjoy them all.
Yesterday, as I hit the shore ~ first thing I noticed was the bright orange of the wood lilies.   They are one of my very favorite.   The ninebarks are just starting to open now also.  They are one of my favorite woody flowering shrubs on the shore of Lake Superior.  They are bold and beautiful!  I found some new, up to 6" tall plants with a light purple flower too ~ yesterday.  I still haven't looked them up to see what I discovered.  I have been going there for years and never saw them before.

Another spring favorite is the pitcher plants.  There is a bog not too far away I love to go to because it has so many wonderful bog flowers in.  That was outdoing itself this year too.  The pitchers had just started seriously blooming and there were hundreds of them popping above the moss.   The dragon's mouth orchids were also in full bloom.   They are so gorgeous.  The yellow potentilla was blooming and were the sundews, cranberries, and buckbeans.  It was truly a sight to see.   Of course, to go to the bog and see the flowers, you have to dress for it.  Water is always at least ankle deep and it's half way to your knees in many places.  Always is a wonderful place to explore ~ at any rate!
Of course, along with flowers comes butterflies.  It doesn't seem to me there are as many around this year.  But, I have seen a goodly number of these.

I'll end with a shot of some of the tall grasses that are now "flowering" and catching some sun's rays.
Summer is here ~ in all it's beauty!   Enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14, 2016 It's Almost Summer!

Well ~ it's almost summer, officially.   We have had several mighty gray days lately tho.   Everything is soooo wet again.  I am glad our garden is raised beds or it might be drowning about now.   Everything is coming up ~ so, that is good.   Actually, we haven't even put in tomatoes this year ~ yet anyway ~ which would give us more flexibility to do things in the Fall.  Seems like so much of the year, something is going on so it's hard to get  away, even for a few days.  When one works so hard to get a good crop in this country, one hates to go and let it freeze and not keep everything picked.   My perennial flowers are getting smaller in number every year too.  Some die off ~ and, I just am choosing not to replace them.  I have too many deer friends to eat everything.  I don't like to have to go out there and chew them out or chase them off.  So, if I still have it, deer aren't too fond of it!  :)
Isn't she cute.  I took this early the other morning with flash on the camera ~ it lit up the eyes better.  I had discovered her while out on a walk the afternoon before.  You know ~ the "if you find a fawn, it's ok, don't touch it, mom will be back" thing.   That's what I figured.   I told my neighbor about it and showed them where she was so their 3 little dogs wouldn't get after it.   Well, we all had the same idea the next morning, so ~ shortly after 6 a.m., I was checking on it ~ thus, this photo.  It was still there.   Oh dear! Oh deer!  I wasn't happy to see that.  It had been raining.  I was worried she belonged to the small 2 year old doe and that maybe she wasn't in to being a good mom yet.  Shortly thereafter, my neighbor checked too and oh oh ~ still there.  Emailed me.   We all agreed to wait longer as she seemed fine.   About 11:30 ~ we all got the same idea again.  I met them halfway and they said the mom had just showed up and was standing in the woods with it.  So, I turned around and went the other way.   Once again, all ended well.  But, boy that mom was sure pushing the envelope as far as how long she left her baby!   So glad no one touched her......
I've been trying to get out a lot and try for some new, seasonal new photos too.   I thought this one was particularly pretty.  The Hovland Arts Festival isn't too far away now ~ so, always good to have some nice stuff.  I try.   Of course, Betsy is always up for the adventure.   I am quite often out middle of the day this time of the year.   One has to be out by 4 in the morning to try for a sunrise.  Out my way, the sun is so far inland this time of year, I can't get a sun coming up over the lake anyway.   Sunsets are always a problem because of the same issue, year around, sun sets inland and on some evenings, I can get color, but, the sun is long gone before it colors up.  It sets behind the big ridges we have here.  Again, one has to be out quite late now to get what little color there is this time of year.  Late fall and winter is the time I like to be out for my color up sunrises!   When conditions are right, one can get some really pretty pictures during the day even tho most photographers don't like the "harsh" light mid day.   So it goes ~ we do what we can with what we are given.
Well ~ if you are in our neck of the woods on July 2 and 3 this year ~ stop in and see our Hovland Arts Festival.   I'll be there!

Friday, May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016 It's Official ~ Bug Season is Here!

It's that time of the year when the wild flowers are blooming ~ baby animals are being born ~ new life is  springing up all over the place.  It is so nice to wander about and observe all that is happening around us.   Unfortunately, with that pleasure comes the little black flies ~ to soon be followed by the mosquitoes.   I just don't have a lot of patience with bugs anymore.   Not like I ever had a lot.........

I have been out and about this week, trying to avoid them.  Some of these are on the shore of Lake Superior ~ such as the ones above ~ bird's eye primroses.  I have always thought these were such pretty little flowers.  They are pretty dainty.  They are also really taking hold in some of the places I used to find one or two plants.  There are now lots of them ~ which is why you see a large group above instead of a close up of one plant.   I am so pleased.   It's always nice to see some of life's pleasures expanding their ranges and spaces rather than disappearing.
Of course, Miss Betsy always enjoys our wanderings ~ whether by Lake Superior or back in the brush.   I think our trips in the brush are done, as far as the extended wanderings, for a bit.  On Monday we were over east ~ around beaver ponds and just moseying all over the place.   It was a sunny day with a good breeze until the storm clouds moved in.  So, to start the black flies weren't bothering.  However, with the heat of the last few days also came the ticks.  They really came out.  I looked down and they were crawling up both legs as fast as their little legs would go ~ lots and lots of them.  I got to the creek crossing and picked and pitched a heck of a batch.  When I got home, the jeans came off as did the socks.  I turned everything inside out too.  You wouldn't believe all the ticks!  It's been a couple of years since we had ticks in that kind of numbers over there.   It was just about the time I like to hike into one of my favorite ~ mostly unknown ~ water falls.  WELL.......that isn't going to happen any time soon now.   I have been bitten a few too many times by ticks, that I managed to miss.   So far, I have been lucky.  One never knows when that luck runs out.   And ........ I know for a fact some of the tick borne diseases aren't pleasant.   So ~ sometimes, better safe than sorry.
To end ~ here is one of the more difficult flowers of Spring to photograph.  Ginger.  No shortage of that around anyway.  They are definitely an interesting plant.   Too bad they aren't more useful, since there is an abundance of them.   I did harvest a bunch of nice fiddleheads again this Spring tho.  They are always tasty.  Spring has sprung ~ enjoy it!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14, 2016 Egrets ~ beautiful egrets!

Just for something different to do ~ we went on a road trip for a couple of days and watched these beautiful birds building nests, bit of mating displays yet, sitting on nests, and just doing what they do.  It was interesting watching a large bird like this walking around in the spruce trees.  Here, we have much smaller birds hanging out in them.   There isn't a lot exciting going on here at the present time ~ just waiting for Spring to come to stay!  26 degrees, cloudy, gray, snowflakes on roofs, decks and railings this a.m. ~ not exactly "Springlike" weather!  Plus, we got to visit with folks we don't see often.  So, this was fun.  Miss Betsy enjoyed getting to meet a new dog friend too!
Over in this area, it looked like Spring.  The leaves were out.  The trees were all blooming!  It was just beautiful.  One of the first photos I took, upon getting out of the truck, was an egret playing peek a boo with me from up in a blossom covered tree.  Talk about beautiful!  Now, if I had only had some blue sky to work with instead of gray and drizzles ~ I'd have really been in my glory!  I guess I was anyway ~ but, the contrasts I'd have gotten with the blue sky and white birds would have been amazing.
A number of photos like this ~ when I caught some in the open with their displays and nest building ~ would have looked so good with the blue sky.  Oh my ~ I really will have to go back there.
Here is just one example of all the birds nesting in one of the trees.  Cool and gray ~ they were just hunkered down and that's the way they stayed.  There were quite a few of these trees full of birds.
There were also some cormorants on the island.   I captured some with sticks for their own nest building projects.  They really are pretty cool birds ~ even tho, I know a lot of people don't like them.  I guess they compete with the fishermen too much!
Here is one busy working on the nest.  It never did turn and face me but it was a shot with color to set off the plumes blowing in the breezes.   Watching the mates bring the sticks and the hand off and then the placement was pretty cool to watch.
Here, again, just a posing in a tree shot.  But, what a difference the blue sky would have made.

It was also cool to watch them walking around on the ground.  Whether in flight, trees, or on the ground ~ they are beautiful birds to watch.   It would be fun to go over when the babies are hatched and getting fed in the trees.  But, I really want to get there on a beautiful Spring day next year for the mating rituals, for sure.
Here is one more photo of a group in the trees.   So, if you are a bird watcher ~ you should be enjoying the little photo story of some birds I have always admired from a distance ~ whether it be on TV or in a book.  Now, I finally got to watch them in person.  Once isn't enough!  :)