Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


17 Comments

Fall flies

A bit of color among all that green.


It seems like fall is flying away. It’s been unseasonably warm, and by the end of summer we had had days and weeks with no rain.

A soggy marsh.

It’s still warm, even now, but this week we’ve had days filled with waves of rain. Yesterday we got over an inch, the day before was similar, and though it’s barely noon we’ve had half an inch already.

A little bit of peachy yellow shines in the wet air.

The few colored leaves we had are are sailing across the yard on gusty winds. Sometimes the rain blows sideways too and we are feeling a bit of cabin fever.

So in between rain bands Katie and I ventured out to see if I could capture just a few photos of what little color we have. She was hoping to read a few pee-mails left by neighborhood dogs.

The most color we have right now is sumac.

The maple trees, the sumac, and the wild grapes are turning color, but most of the rest of the trees are still green, or just turning brown.

Katie and I only went a block or so in each direction, but we saw what color there was. The wind was picking up again, though, so I urged her to move faster toward home.

The wind scuttles across the pond across the street.

In our own backyard, while I was concentrating on the leaves left on our burning bush I felt the first splat of new rain. “Katie!” I yelled, not looking back at her, “COME!”

Damp burning bush.

I tucked the camera under my arm and sprinted for the back door. As I got there I looked over my shoulder and she was standing out there just looking at me. She didn’t want to come back inside. “COME!” I yelled again. She stared at me.

Berries provide some color too.

She is, after all, a princess.

I ran back out, head tucked into the wind, grabbed her leash and tugged her into the house. And just as I closed the door the rain slammed into the windows. She looked at me as if to say “Gee mama, what was all the rush for anyway? We’re still relatively dry.”

Safe inside watching the rain.

Silly girl.

Hey mama! Wanna play now?

PS: This is not my Walktober. I’m planning something next week when I travel to a special place. But if you’re inclined to do a Walktober, and if it’s not pouring rain where you live, this might be the perfect time to do one! Link to Robin’s blog and she’ll compile them all at the end of the month.

Advertisements


10 Comments

This didn’t have to happen

It’s happening regularly across our country. Over and over, it seems daily, I read the stories. This one happened yesterday, and not so far from me.

Look at the photos; the SUV is wedged entirely under the trailer of the semi truck. It was a dark and rainy morning, the SUV was traveling on the divided highway when the semi pulled out in order to make a turn.

The SUV driver is dead but he might have had a chance if the truck had side guards installed on the trailer. Most industrialized countries around the world have these safety devices on their trucks.

Our country doesn’t, because the trucking industry protests the weight that would be added to the truck. They say the guards will cost them money – by making those loads that are already at maximum weight be reduced. They say the guards will mean more trucks are on the road.

The truth is most trucks aren’t at the maximum weight and won’t have to decrease their load. The truth is we could probably get the weight limit increased for the 800 pounds side guards might add. The truth is we might be able to get tax credits or other benefits for truck companies willing to help make our roads safer.

Some truck companies and trailer manufacturers are beginning to consider adding guards, not because it’s legislated, but because it’s the right thing to do. They’re willing to absorb the weight and the cost because it could save lives.

There are a lot of potential solutions, but none of them came in time for the driver of this SUV. He was 75, the same age my dad was when he was hit from behind by a semi and pushed into the semi in front of him. This man’s name is William. So was my dad’s.

It just hits so hard. Another man, probably a husband, a father, maybe a grandfather, someone’s brother, neighbor, church friend, local man about town, another man is dead.

And it didn’t have to happen.

We’re working on it but we’re slow and we’re fighting uphill. We don’t have the money that the truck industry has, and it’s harder for us to influence decision makers.

But we’re not giving up and we’re not going away.

Please, if you can, support our efforts. We’re working both with industry directly and within government to get side guards installed on trailers. You can donate to the Truck Safety Coalition via PayPal at their website. Funds donated will go toward our work to make the highways safer for all of us.

And there’s another way to help. A bill is being worked on that will require side guards, and I’ll ask you to call your Senator to ask for support. I’ll let you know when to call.

In the meantime – stay safe.


25 Comments

Surprise!

Most of you know Katie likes to get me up early. Really really early. Most mornings it’s a struggle and today was no exception.

On our fourth trip out within a couple hours (during most of which she did absolutely nothing but sniff the grass) I glanced over my shoulder.

And saw this.

Whoa! Katie, let’s run and get the camera!

The original reason for the trip outside was instantly forgotten. She let me run back inside and grab the camera as she waited patiently (and if you know Katie, you know she’s not the patient sort) for me to return.

Then the double rainbow showed up.

See the second one?!

I could barely contain myself. Katie, always the princess, remained calm.

I’ll wait here on the porch mama.

The color was amazing.

Couldn’t stop shooting.

Thank you Katie-girl for getting me off the sofa and outside this morning. Even so often and so early. You’re a good girl.

Now, can we go back to sleep?

Love you too mama


12 Comments

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: All Things Farm Related

My mom grew up on a farm and I’ve been back to visit only a couple of times in many years.

Some of the barns on the farm where my mother grew up.

The farm remains in the family, and the current owner, my cousin, takes remarkable care of all the buildings.

Corn crib with tractors.

I remember spending time on the farm when I was a young kid. Exploring the barns, hanging out in the corn crib. Riding the tractors with my uncle.

Antique tractor.

Tools still hang in my grandfather’s shop. I never spent any time there, we were forbidden from exploring it, and it seemed kind of scary.

Tools hanging where grandpa or uncle left them decades ago.

The farm is a special place and I’m glad it’s still in the family, though it’s a huge responsibility and a lot of work to take care of it.

Time keeps rolling along.

I miss so many people that used to work or live on the farm. Sometimes I think I can see them just around that next barn corner.

Which way did they go?


19 Comments

Just a typical day

Not every day in retirement is an adventure, but the simple days are OK too. This morning Katie and I woke up to another beautiful October day. Blue sky and the moon just going down.

Hello moon!

We wandered a bit around the yard. She likes to check in with her tomato patch, just in case a spare cherry tomato falls off the vine don’t you know.

Guarding her tomatoes from marauding squirrels.

And of course it did.

Then a wander under the white pines at the back of our yard. Such a pretty place that we hardly ever visit, I don’t know why.

Can we camp under here mama?

But she said that really wasn’t enough of a walk, so she arranged to go to the park with her friend Deuce.

They posed under duress.

The mamas felt like a walk in the woods too, so it all worked out.

The light was beautiful!

We even tried to walk on the beach but the sun was getting too hot, and besides, they have this sign there.

They thought this was a silly rule.

Which we ignored.

That sign didn’t me ME, did it mama?

No, not every day has to be an adventure, but when you’re retired adventure can turn up any day!

Hey mama! This leaf is as big as I am!


27 Comments

Katie’s Walktober

Katie here. Mama says she’s going to go on something called a Walktober. I was not exactly sure what that was, but I heard the word “walk” and I wanted to make sure I was included. Because mama should never go on any walk without me!

This is my friend Deuce.

I asked her what a Walktober was and she told me all about Robin’s blog and how everyone was going to take a walk in October and post about it, and then Robin would do a wrap-up post with links to everybody’s walk at the end of the month!

Mama said the dates were originally Oct 1 through Oct 18, but now Robin has extended it to Oct 28!

We don’t sit real close to each other. We each like our personal space.

Mama says she hasn’t decided where she’s going to do her Walktober, but, as usual, I’m way ahead of her. I went on my Walktober last weekend with my friend Deuce and his mom. Oh yea…my mama was there too.

We went to a park I’ve never seen before! Oh my! I do love new places! I guess I get that from mama, who also loves to explore. This new park was in the woods, so there was shade everywhere! And a beautiful river ran right through the middle of it!

Such a beautiful day!

I loved being cool while I explored, and I of course loved being in the woods. There were all these beautiful trees, and lovely new smells.

I’m 10 years old! So nice they have a sign for me!

It wasn’t a very big park, so mama and Deuce’s mom decided we’d just go around on the trail twice. I didn’t even notice. I loved being there. I even jumped a log without touching it. Mama said I looked like I was flying.

I can fly mama!

Then she made me do it two more times because she wanted to get a picture. Figures.

I felt really good on this walk. We walked way over a mile, and I even ran a race with Deuce! He won, but that’s because he’s only 5, just a youngster. And because I let him.

A Princess runs sedately.

You might not know, but this summer has been so hot that I haven’t really wanted to go on very many walks and mama has been sort of worried about me. But she can tell now that it’s getting a little cooler that I’m feeling much more like myself.

She’s really glad.

I want to say thank you to Deuce and his mom for sharing their park with me. It was the perfect park to do my Walktober and now I want to challenge all of you to get out this month and take a walk. Post about it and link to any of Robin’s posts. She’ll collect them all and everyone will get to come along with you on your walk!

I can’t wait to see your Walktober!

Deuce can fly too!


15 Comments

Happy anniversary

Happy 65th wedding anniversary to mom and dad in heaven.

This is one of those ‘big’ anniversaries that we should be celebrating, but I couldn’t figure out how to book a hall up there for a big party.

We’ll have to be content with just thinking about and missing you like we have every single day for the past thirteen years.

I hope they have cake up there, and ice cream. And flowers, lots of lots of flowers. Music would be good too. I suppose that’s all there, I mean how could it be heaven without ice cream, but we wish you were here with us instead.

That’s not the way it worked out and we all know that life isn’t always fair.

So Happy Anniversary in heaven; eat some cake for us. We’ll see you both again someday.


24 Comments

Cloud chaser

I was focused on something else, turned around and this was behind me.


Yesterday the sky was facinating; blue sky filled with huge black, white, navy and grey clouds. I thought about those yellow soybean fields I’d seen on my drive home from our latest camping adventure. I thought about housework that needed to be done.

I thought about it for approximately 2.4 seconds.

And then I picked up my camera, wrote a note to my husband and hit the road with no particular destination in mind. Well. I did think I might head right back toward the campground, but that was three hours away, and the clouds were moving fast. I was worried I’d miss the dramatic sky if I stuck to the freeway and drove for that long.

See that dark streak of clouds? When I first saw that it was right over the silos. Stunning!

So at my first opportunity I exited and began to wander those back country roads. It was a part of the state I’ve explored like this before, and I always figure I’ll end up with the same images over and over, but I never end up in exactly the same place.

Looks stormy, but it never rained.

I guess that’s the benefit of miles and miles of farmland and the big open spaces that I love.

Harvest time.

Good thing the car tells you which direction you’re going, because some of the time I could have sworn I was going east when I was going north. I’ve learned a long time ago to trust technology, but even so eventually I wasn’t sure where I was.

I ended up in a town with houses like this…

Pretty stupendous architecture.

…and this.

Summer flowers still going strong.

Pretty. I stopped to check my map (yes paper maps are still useful!) and to walk around a little. Then back on the road.

I was looking for that elusive soybean field. But instead of bright yellow I kept seeing acres of brown. The plants were about shin high, totally brown and I couldn’t tell what they were.

What IS this?

When I had a safe place to stop and look more closely I pulled over.

Looks like a bean pod…but???

I still don’t know what they are. Are they soy beans that have totally dried? Or something else? Does anyone know? I should ask my family. They live on farmland and will surely know what this is.

A little sway in that roof line.

Besides soybeans I was chasing the sun. I’d be driving along and the sun would pop out, striking the side of a barn off in the distance. It would be stunning, surrounded as it was with the dark stormy sky.

See that stripe of sun? It was right on that red barn when I pulled over, but by the time I got out of the car it had moved.

By the time I’d find a safe place to stop and get out of the car the sun had moved on. The clouds would shift, moving from their perfect placement, and though still pretty, the shot wouldn’t be as stunning as what I originally saw. The image that caused me to stop would have to remain only in my memory.

I got lucky. While I was standing there the sun struck the side of this barn’s metal roof.

I guess it’s kind of like trying to get that perfect shot of a baby playing, or a dog being cute. It takes some planning and a whole lot of luck.

Eventually I just stopped trying to catch that perfect moment, and enjoyed them as I saw them, driving cris cross along the country roads. I wished I had some sort of tracker on the car so I could see, later, what my route looked like.

A classic.

It would have been crazy. I turned around regularly to go back to a barn or a field. Sometimes just because. I know I went around several country blocks and at least once I wondered if I was driving on a road I had explored just minutes before.

Eventually I crossed a major road and checked the map again. I was all the way up toward Saginaw. It was getting late, so I wandered over to the freeway and headed home.

Did I ever find that red barn sitting in a soybean field? Well…

Red barn, yellow soybeans. Check.

…yes, yes I did. It was just a little field and a little barn, but it was pretty. I’ve found other more stunning examples in other years, and I’ll probably go out once again this year to try again, but I was happy to find this one.

And just look at all the other neat stuff I found while I was searching!

The sound of the dry corn rustling in the wind was special too.


14 Comments

There’s more to camping than the sheltie-girl

The road to the campground.


If you listen to Katie you’d think that all camping adventures are about her, and I suppose in some respects they are. We don’t do things she doesn’t want to do, and on this last camping trip of the season she didn’t want to do very much, so we stuck close to camp.

Still, there were many beautiful things to show you.

The grass turned color depending on the light.

We made short forays into the deep old growth forests. The air felt cooler to me, but I guess a sheltie-girl’s heavy fur coat made it hot for her, even there, so we didn’t stay very long.

It’s cooler back here in the forest.

The ferns along the forest floor were mostly brown. I don’t know if it’s drought or they had an early frost. No one else seemed to know either. They were still pretty in brown, but I felt kind of sad that their summer was over.

Variations of brown.

Katie and I drove a few miles down the road to visit two lakes, formed when the glaciers slid over Michigan years ago, then melted.

Amazing color, even before the leaves really begin to turn.

The sky was an incredible blue and the lakes were perfectly still. I couldn’t stop shooting images. Katie was pretty patient about the whole thing.

Reflections in the still water were mesmerizing.

It would have been fun to kayak on either of these lakes, and I think you can rent kayaks from the park. But Katie said she wasn’t into boating so we didn’t check that out.

Lilly pads add some color too.

As Katie told you the last night we had a storm blow over, making the sky and even the air turn bright pink.

Pretty in pink.

It was pretty amazing, and the camera caught even more pink than our eyes could see. Everyone was out looking around in wonder.

I’m glad the weather cooperated last week and allowed Katie and me to get one more camping trip in this season. We’ve been so lucky this year; we didn’t get rained out on any of our adventures.

It might be a long winter, but we’re already planning where to camp next spring.

Sky in the water.