Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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A walk in the woods

On my last full day ‘up north’ I stopped by the Leelanau State Park hiking trails. I’d spent most of my three day visit near the water, understandable given how much I love Lake Michigan, and I thought I should see what was going on in the forest before I left.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot I realized that I’d been here once before, a few years ago during the winter when we’d all gone cross country skiing on these trails. It looked different now, but not that much different. And walking was so much easier than skiing!

What's over that hill?

What’s over that hill?

It was a dreary and rainy day when I went into the woods, which only served to intensify the green that was waiting for me to discover. The path was soft and squishy with fallen needles and leaves. The only sounds where the chirps of chipmunks, the cries of bluejays and a slight breeze in the trees.

Hey lady!  Stop clomping around in my woods!

Hey lady! Stop clomping around in my woods!

Since it had been so damp, days and days of rain and clouds, everything was lush including the mushrooms and toadstools growing on the forest floor. Luckily I had my tripod with me, so I was able to get up close to these little orange guys, even in the low light.

Orange is very in this fall.

Orange is very in this fall.

It took me a few times to figure out the white balance and the ISO, not to mention the f-stop and shutter speed. But thanks to some advice Heather of Snap Happy Gal gave me the night before I was able to fiddle around and get the shot using manual settings on my camera. The hardest part was getting my knees to unbend and to stand up once I’d been down there for awhile.

It was such a beautiful day, as overcast and dreary as it had been out on the road, it was fresh and green and pleasantly cool in the woods. I appreciated finding these informative signs at each intersection so I didn’t worry about getting lost.

Which way should I go?

Which way should I go?

I wanted to keep going and going from one marker to the next. I wanted to explore all of it, but it’s pretty big. I guess I’ll have to go back to see more of it the next time I’m up that way.

I sure enjoyed my walk in the woods, watching the ground for beautiful stuff…

Little red guy growing right in the middle of the path.  So I couldn't ignore him.

Little red guy growing right in the middle of the path. So I couldn’t ignore him.

…and watching the treetops for more beautiful stuff.

Deep in the woods the trees are tall.

Deep in the woods the trees are tall.

And then, surprise, surprise, the sun came out! Suddenly light flooded into the woods, and the trees smiled.

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

So did I.

While I was in the woods exploring the sun fought it’s way out from under the clouds and when I emerged from the trees blue sky and puffy white clouds greeted me.

Nothing but blue sky...

Nothing but blue sky…

Back in the parking lot, sitting in the car drinking some water, I noticed one last beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but get the camera and tripod back out. It reminded me of Lake Michigan which also has a wide range of colors, depending on the light.

Look at all the colors!

Look at all the colors!

It turns out that after my walk in the woods I found one of the prettiest things I had seen that afternoon on a tree standing right next to the parking lot. I guess you never know where you’re going to find something beautiful!

So tell me, what beautiful things have you seen lately?

Good spot to contemplate

Good spot to contemplate


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Apple benefits

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.


One of the advantages of visiting Northport Michigan in September is that the apples are coming in. And nowhere are there more interesting varieties than at Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Antique Apple Orchard.

In fact, I consider the apples there to be something of a gift…so I guess Christmas Cove is the appropriate place to find them.

Apples, cider, and pop bottles!

Apples, cider, and pop bottles!

I’ve been up in Northport for only three days and I’ve visited the apple orchard twice; the second time to get more apples and a gallon of cider to take home. While there I asked permission to take a few photos. “Sure” they said, “we’re sort of used to it by now.”

Apple barn.

Apple barn.

They’ve owned the apple orchard since 1955 and it’s become something of a tourist destination. Along with the wonderful antique apples, there’s a huge collection of soda bottles and tin signs hanging in the pole barn where the apples are sold.

Lots of things collected here!

Lots of things collected here!

I bought a book about the Kilcherman family orchard from the local bookseller Pamela Grath of Dog Ears Books yesterday. It’s full of beautiful photos and apple recipes and was put together by the family. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be baking a few tasty apple treats soon.

Waiting to be filled.

Waiting to be filled.

I’m glad I got to visit Northport during apple season. If you happen to get the chance to come up in the fall, make sure you stop by this unique orchard. It’s just north of town and the cider is to die for.

Historically yummy.  Yummy today too.

Historically yummy. Yummy today too.

Guaranteed.

Benefit of fall's arrival.

Benefit of fall’s arrival.


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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Two different things

While I am ‘up north’ today I visited the lighthouse at the very tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. I was walking out among the scrub at the edge of Lake Michigan, looking back at the lighthouse when I realized there were two of them.

Old and new lighthouses share the point.

Old and new lighthouses share the point.

It’s always fun when you accidentally run across something that fits a challenge. Thanks Cee!


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Something about that sky

Many of you know that I love the photographic work of Snap Happy Gal. If you study her images you’ll note that the sky is often a big part of the picture; her clouds low and robust, the light always mesmerizing. I can spot her work on Facebook even before I check to see who posted.

Sky is a big deal to me too. So on my drive up to Northport yesterday I noticed when the heavy dark clouds rolled in as I navigated morning rush hour through Flint. And how they rolled and twisted as I reached the flat land near Bay City.

Farmland anticipates rain.

Farmland anticipates rain.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to get off the freeway and see what I could catch. I thought to myself as I drove the back roads – “This is a Snap Happy sky.”

There’s a big lake just past Grayling and it always catches my attention. This trip was no exception as the clouds kept rolling in. I had to stop.

Dark and stormy  Lake Margrethe

Dark and stormy Lake Margrethe

And so it was, and continues to be this morning, here on the big lake. Lake Michigan swells quietly beneath an ominous sky, caught between summer and autumn.

Summer leaves reluctantly.

Summer leaves reluctantly.

Living in a wide open space you can watch the weather approaching. It’s almost like watching it on radar, the way the clouds move across the water. But it’s better than radar because you can actually feel the changes — you’re surrounded, as if you’re sitting in the biggest 360 degree 3D movie theater in the world.

A clear blue sky would be boring.

A clear blue sky would be boring.

I think it’s possible we’ll have clouds for all three days of my visit. Some people might be sad at the lack of sun and blue sky.

Me? I’m thinking this is going to be cool!

Evening quiets.

Evening quiets.


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Orphan car show

Husband and I wandered through an “Orphan” car show this weekend down in Ypsilanti Michigan. No, these aren’t cars that were abandoned on firehouse steps, these are cars that are no longer produced. The Edsel, the Hudson, the AMC Rambler, the Studebaker and so many more.

Lots of cars!

Lots of cars!

Old cars from before I was born, and cars I remember from my teenage years. I learned to drive a stick shift in one like this years ago.

The AMC Pacer...lots of glass!

The AMC Pacer…lots of glass!

There were so many beautiful cars. The lines and details were amazing.

Studebaker

Studebaker

And that’s mostly what I focused my camera on. If you want to see whole cars you should stop by my Facebook page where my husband posted loads of beautiful photos.

Here I’m going to show you details. There are so many it’s hard to know where to start. So I’ll just put together a slideshow of some of my favorite colors and shapes. And the chrome! Oh my the chrome!

I hope you enjoy:

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We had such a good time!

And then we walked back through the historic district and found a Hudson museum! It was originally a dealership for Hudson automobiles and stayed open until after the car was no longer being built, selling used Hudsons for years.

The door slides into the frame!!

The door slides into the frame!!

There were more beautiful cars there! And featured was a 1955 Hudson Italia built in Milan Italy, #20 of only 26 ever built. It’s the color of rich butter pecan ice cream and simply beautiful. Look at the lines, the shapes, the details.

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I wonder. In 100 years, which of our cars will be sitting in museums for people to enjoy? Which ones will look like art?

I didn’t grow up as a ‘car person’ but over the years I’ve learned to appreciate beautiful design combined with quality function. I hope you enjoyed the tour, and maybe it will inspire you to stop by a car show near you.

Hudson hotrod

Tucker hotrod


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Last time

Katie is sleeping off her camping hangover. Both of us always come home from a camping trip feeling a bit hungover, head stuffed with sights and smells, sleep deprived.

A little damp.

Don't laugh at me.  Mama's hair looked like this too.

Don’t laugh at me. Mama’s hair looked like this too.

Since she’s unavailable I guess it’s up to me to tell you about our latest camping adventure. It was less adventure this time, given we just went up the road to our local state park. Still, our site was secluded and the park was mostly empty the first night, so we could imagine it was just us out there in the woods. We even heard coyotes yipping far away.

We were glad they weren’t any closer.

Just like camping in the deep woods.  Sort of.

Just like camping in the deep woods. Sort of.

High above our tent was a tree filled with wild grapevines heavy with ripe fruit attracting lots of robins. We enjoyed watching them fly up there to eat. We also had a tree right next to the tent that was a squirrel jungle gym. It was full of the little guys running up and down the trunk, then out onto the branches to eat acorns. Lots of acorns also fell (or were thrown) on us and the tent.

Looks like a good lunch up there!

Looks like a good lunch up there!

Katie and I were both entertained. It doesn’t take a lot to make us happy.

Down at the park headquarters someone planted a whole lot of sunflowers. Katie and I noticed them as we drove in, so we went back there the next morning to see them up close.

Pretty!

Pretty!

They were simply amazing. Some of them had been eaten by deer down to little sunflower stumps. But hundreds had grown to maturity, their heads following the sun. I particularly liked the way the sun looked shining through their petals. The shapes were beautiful, even from behind.

Following the sun.

Following the sun.

And during our campout we had visitors too! Peep and her mom Wendy stopped by for a walk. We always have a good time when we get together.

Hey Katie!  Does your mom always take this many pictures?

Hey Katie! Does your mom always take this many pictures?

It’s obvious the chairs were meant for the girls to enjoy. So they did.

Later in the day we wandered down to the beach to see if there would be a sunset. We got there about an hour before official sunset, but the light was already pretty.

Looks like fall visited this tree early.

Looks like fall visited this tree early.

I took a ton of photos as the sun dropped. The clouds turned a lovely pink and were reflected in the still water.

Reflections of a beautiful day at the park.

Reflections of a beautiful day at the park.

And while that was happening, further to the west the sky was turning gold.

The sun leaves a bit of gold behind.

The sun leaves a bit of gold behind.

It was hard to choose what to shoot. So I quickly took pictures of it all. Including, of course, my Katie-girl who waited patiently for me to finish.

This light is perfect for a princess mama!

Ready for my closeup mama!

She only huffed at me a little bit and then only because I hadn’t spent enough time focusing on her in the golden light. A princess knows when the light is perfect and will show off her best features.

Once it began to get dark Katie and I headed back up the hill to the car. I was loading her into her crate in the back, when glancing over my shoulder I saw this:

Surprise!

Surprise!

Obviously Katie had to be patient again. Even she was in awe of the moon, and she didn’t huff once.

I think this was our last camping adventure for the season. Time to put the camping gear away for awhile. We’ll have to be satisfied with dreaming about next year’s adventures.

Katie says she can’t wait.

What do you mean the season's over mama??

What do you mean the season’s over mama??


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Let the music begin

I’m clinging to summer, not willing to let it go — hanging on with both hands to it’s ankle as it drags me wearily toward the exit.

Still…

Saturday night I was privileged to attend the first concert of the Ann Arbor Symphony’s 2016/2017 season. It’s time for music again, in conjunction with the arrival of fall. It reminded me, as I was sitting at Hill Auditorium, that there are exciting aspects to the end of summer. That, in fact, it’s less about something ending than it is about something beginning.

Ready to begin!

Ready to begin!

The music Saturday night was fun and exciting, even joyful as befits the beginning of something wonderful. It started, as all Ann Arbor Symphony season opening concerts do, with our national anthem. There’s something about an auditorium filled with musically inclined people, all singing their anthem loudly and enthusiastically, accompanied by a first class musical unit, that makes you appreciate just how lucky we all are to be living in this country. And how lucky I was to be there to hear it.

The first piece of the evening was Festive Overture Op 96 by Shostakovich. I know, I know, many of you don’t like the music of Shostakovich. But listen to a little of this. It was written the year after Stalin died when the composer could finally express his joy. Listen to the first minute of this wonderful piece of music, and at the 45 second mark note the clarinet work. Amazing. Just another reason why I enjoyed this piece so much.

The second piece of the evening was Der Rosenkavalier Suite by Strauss. Another joyful beginning to a piece, with strong French Horns and full orchestration.

And then it was time to hear the guest soloist, Jon Kimura Parker on piano performing Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major by Brahms. He talked to members of the audience prior to the concert, explaining the piece and talking about what it was like to play it. He told us how different it was from other concertos, in that the slow movement wasn’t second, and the fourth and last movement wasn’t necessarily the triumphant ending with brass, that in fact the trumpets had nothing to do in the piece after movement number two! The explanation made listening to the work even more fun.

I had thought the opening piece by Shostakovich would be my favorite of the evening, but it turns out that the fourth movement of the Brahms was my favorite. It starts out so light, almost the bouncy dance of a small child. But then, just about one minute into the movement the orchestra begins to swell like gentle waves at the ocean. The piano comes back in dancing, the waves continue to pull.

And so I began to see a child dancing on a beach, the waves calling, the child dancing faster, the waves always just beyond the toes of the dancing child. So it goes, the dancing piano, the frolicking orchestra. Each playing off the other, until, in the last seconds the piano and the orchestra are joyfully dancing at the ocean’s edge together.

Lights...action!

Lights…action!

And that’s what this concert was all about. Joy. Anticipatory joy for the autumn season approaching, for the music season now upon us and reminiscent joy for the wonderful summer just experienced. What better way to experience the transition from summer to fall than to spend an evening listening to such wonderful music.

And I can tell you that it sure took the sting out of having to say goodbye to summer.

Thanks Aunt Becky!

Thanks Aunt Becky!