Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Foggy morning

No swimming today.


Overnight I listened to a lighthouse fog horn warning ships that the shore wasn’t visible. This morning the horn was still blowing and the lake had disappeared behind a heavy veil.

My plan for today was to explore nearby orchards; I’ve never been here when they were in bloom, and I saw several on my drive that looked promising. But in the fog?

Mysterious beach.

I thought about it while I was eating cereal, staring out into grey nothingness. Contemplating. After all, a flowering tree is beautiful in the sun, but might it be more interesting in the fog?

Certainly worth a walk.

Going for a walk.

Everything is so green up here, and the fog made it seem to drip green dew into the green air.

Green green everywhere.

At the top of a hill was an orchard in full bloom.

Standing in formation despite the weather.

I’ve tried many times to catch the patterns and symmetry of orchards. It’s hard to show the patterns, they’re so large. But every time I’m up here, whatever the season, I try.

Trunks create a pattern.

I guess I find orchards fascinating.

Rows line up.

I love the patterns and textures, especially when they’re in bloom.

So pretty.

Later this afternoon the sun came out. I went for a walk in the woods, and on my way back I drove by the orchard to see what it might look like without fog.

Hills full of orchards.

Turns out they are just as pretty in the sunlight.

Sun shines through blossoms.

I’ve got to organize the photos from my walk in the woods. Maybe you’ll see those tomorrow. But the sun is still shining here, sparkling on the water. There’s a chance we’ll get a sunset tonight.

If so you’ll probably see that first.

Sun diamonds.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: Evanescent

ev·a·nes·cent [evəˈnes(ə)nt]
adjective:

Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

Only here a moment.

I saw this unusual trillium on my walk in the northern fog this morning. I’ve never seen one like it. Trillium season is so short I’m lucky to get an extension by being in the north this weekend.


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The skies they are a changing

I’m off on a little vacation; just me myself and I plus one cat. And a really big lake.

On the five hour drive north I saw a couple sights worthy of stopping, even though it was a drizzling, damp, grey, kind of nothing in particular sort of day.

New corn.

Still, there was evidence that spring was marching on regardless of the dreary weather.

A hillside full of trillium.

At the lake mist was still clinging to the hilltops above the gentle giant of a lake.

Misty morning on the lake.

I went for my first walk along the shore, glad to be near the water, not caring what the weather would bring. And then I noticed a lightening of the air; the sun was fighting the low hanging clouds.

A bit of blue to brighten the day.

But looking the other way down the beach, the clouds were piling in.

Purple clouds.

The sun and clouds tussled the rest of the day, until late in the afternoon when the sun finally broke free.

Sunshine, clouds, it’s all good.

I thought perhaps there would be a spectacular sunset, but now mist is moving from the horizon toward shore. There probably won’t be any sunset at all.

An lake freighter slides through the mist.

Which works out fine, because I don’t think I can stay awake that long anyway.

Happy to be here.


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Being in the woods

Usually Katie-girl tells you about our latest camping adventure. But she says we didn’t do anything exciting so she’s willing to let me talk.

This time.

Spring has been fickle here in Michigan, Cold and rainy and then sunny and hot. When the weather people said we were going to have a couple of days in the 80s (26.6C) with nights in the 60s (15.5C) I thought we should head to the woods for this season’s inaugural camp.

This is a pretty good site mama!

I was lucky to score a site that, though small, had a spot to tuck the tent under some shade trees. It lacked grass, but that’s the price you often pay to have shade. And Katie, though she’s a princess, doesn’t mind hanging out on dirt.

I didn’t make a list of things to take. I just sort of grabbed things as I thought of them and piled them all up next to the front door in the days preceding our scheduled trip.

Katie watched intently.

On Wednesday, as I began to pack the car she stayed under my feet, “helping” me get everything stowed. Even with her help, however, I forgot the bug spray, the sunscreen and the broom, all important things on a camping expedition. I blame her.

Still, even without important essentials it was heaven to be under the trees, enjoying the breeze and reading, then going for a walk, helping ourselves to a bit of a snack. Then a nap and repeat.

Hey mama! These are pretty!

On a Wednesday afternoon I was privileged to be sitting under a blue sky watching the leaves dance in the wind and the light move across the landscape. Not at work, not at the grocery store, not doing laundry, not vacuuming.

Just being.

Katie is very good at just being, but me? Not so much. It’s an acquired skill, I think, the art of just enjoying where you are when you’re there without worrying about what happened yesterday or might happen later in the day.

Let’s go explore mama!

Our first night was perfect, not too cold, not too hot. I slept great, and even Katie lounged around until after 6 a.m. Thursday the sun bore down on us and the winds were strong. I watched the tree limbs above our tent flail about and pictured them crashing down. The temperatures rose, the wind roared.

Katie and I went for a drive in the air conditioned car, she sitting in the front seat with her nose in the air conditioning vent. We headed down to the lake where were we could watch the clouds skip across the blue sky and the waves rush to shore.

Hurry up mama! My fur is getting messed up!

We enjoyed walking on the trails too. The wind wasn’t too bad back in the woods.

Cool stump!

Later that day we went back to the lake to see the sunset, and even though there wasn’t much of a show we enjoyed being out there, though the temperatures were dropping fast.

Waiting for the sun to set.

Our second night in the tent was miserable. For me anyway. Temps dropped to 43 degrees (6.11C). I wore all my clothes, doubled up the blankets, pulled the sweatshirt hood up over my ears. Still it was too cold to sleep. Katie, on the other hand, thought it was perfect and snoozed the night away.

…zzzzzzzzzz…

Lucky girl.

By morning I was more than ready to go back to civilization, with pillow topped mattresses, heat, running water, toilets closer than a half mile away. But the drive home was disconcerting. People were driving to work, fast and furious. I could feel stress begin to build just watching them dart around me.

And then I remembered. I was driving home to a hot shower and breakfast. Not to work.

Lucky me.

Hey mama! Let me show you how to entertain yourself!


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Mom and her birds

On this Mother’s Day I’m reminded how much my mom loved birds. She kept a life list of birds she’d seen, and they figured prominently in her descriptions of travel around the world.

A busy morning at the feeders.

In the last week, here in Michigan, the summer birds are arriving. I have photos of some of them, taken in bad light, through a dirty window.

Still, I know if she had been here she’d have been just as thrilled as I am to see them return.

Mr. Oriole is a very nervous eater, twisting his head this way and that to see what we’re doing inside.

Whatcha looking at lady?

But he’s also a pig and can’t resist stopping for another bit to eat. Frequently.

Yum!

Mrs. Oriole is a frequent visitor too, a bit less nervous, but just as hungry.

Good morning lady!

Yesterday I saw the season’s first male rose breasted grosbeak. This morning he hung out at the feeder for a long time, not afraid at all even when my camera lens hit the dirty window separating us.

Don’t bother me, I’m eating!

And last night, with camera focused on the feeder, we had another visitor to our yard.

Backyard streaker!

Mom would have gotten a kick out of that too.

So…though I don’t have a recent picture of her, I still think of mom every day, especially as I share with her the wonders of my backyard.

Just like she shared with me her love of everything wild and beautiful.

Happy Mother’s Day mom. We miss you.

Another mom hanging out in my backyard.


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The great sweet potato black bean chili experiment

One of you, I’m unsure who, gave me a recipe for sweet potato and black bean chili. It was a long time ago, long before the latest trip, maybe even before my adventures in Florida and Alabama.

The recipe is handwritten on a scrap of paper that I’ve saved from the trash numerous times. It’s become crumpled and worn, and I can hardly read my writing.

Finally, this week, I bought the ingredients (except for chipotle powder, what is that??) and included it in my weekly meal plan.

Chili fixings

And here is where I need your help. If you gave me this recipe I have a couple of questions. Obviously I copied it down in a hurry because there are a couple things that make no sense.

My list of ingredients doesn’t include garlic powder, but the instructions say to add garlic powder…so I’m wondering how much? I had already used the 4 cloves of garlic, which was in my ingredients list, but then wasn’t mentioned in the instructions, so I just tossed that in with the sweet potato and onion at the beginning. The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and since I had some garlic salt in my spice drawer I used that, hoping it work work in lieu of the garlic powder.

And then there was the ‘stock.’ Once again I must have skipped that in the ingredients list…but as I’m going putting the chili together the instructions said to add the stock. What stock? Assuming vegetable, but how much? I poured in a half cup, and then added a bit more later to thin the whole thing out a bit.

All in all the final result was amazing. Though I wonder what it would taste like if I had chipolata powder. But I guess given it’s a chili I can be flexible.

Yummy and good for you too!

Still…I’d like to correct the recipe, because I think this one is a keeper.

Thank you to the person that sent me the recipe. I look forward to clarifications!

Pretty good start.