Exploring Fabius Township and St. Joseph County, Michigan, with side trips all over this Great Lakes state

Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter washline

During a cold, snowy December this icicle was the only thing to hang from the clothesline.  Now with temperatures in the upper 40's it has disappeared as has most of the snow.  Thunderstorms and lightening have marked this last day of 2010.

Happy New Year to all my blogger friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Uncle Gene

Uncle Gene with his nieces and grand nephews,  the special joys of Christmas when family can gather from near and far.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This is Islet, a beautiful woodblock print by Kalamazoo artist Mary Brodbeck from her Lake Superior series and xylography is the extra special name for the technique of woodblock printing.  Mary studied in Japan with Yoshisuke Funasaka in 1998 as a recipient of a fellowship from the Japanese government, whose mission was to “help keep traditional Japanese arts alive throughout the world.”

For more information on the very ancient art, visit these Wikipedia articles -- Woodblock Printing and xylography.

And more extraordinary explorations of X-words, visit ABC Wednesday.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas roses

Roses, yes, but not really "Christmas roses" or Helleborus niger.
Here is a version of the legend of the Christmas rose (http://www.noelnoelnoel.com/trad/rose.html) and the story of the beautiful Christmas hymn, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Es_ist_ein_Ros_entsprungen) and here are two versions from You Tube -- by the Tolzer Knabenchor:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDVpHZZAzZo


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Feast of the Holy Family

With Christmas on a Saturday in the western calendar, we have lost Good King Wenceslas going out on the feast of Stephen.  But perhaps very appropriately this year for the day after Christmas, we celebrate the Holy Family.  

This is the ornament we found in the bookstore of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.  Ceramic painted with a "patented needle technique," it comes from artists in Uzbekistan.  Our habit has been to buy a Christmas ornament during our summer travels, usually in the Upper Peninsula.  This is an exception to that rule. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas morning

The Christmas tree is always most wondrous in an early morning light. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morning!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Yes, yes, yes, the sun is shining!  Whoopeee!  Let the sun shine in!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ents in the winter sunset

The cloudy day I complained about yesterday morning really turned around by day's end.  Our walk through Brother Francis' pine and oak plantation gave us magical views of the trees as Ents.  Maybe winter isn't so bad after all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

our winter wonderland on ABC Wednesday

One year Michigan license plates read "Winter Water Wonderland;" this slogan has not been repeated.  It was claiming too much to call our winters a wonderland.  Except now and then, when the sun comes out and the shadows on the snow beckon you, and the deer, down a winter path.  Our part of Michigan, the south west corner bordering Indiana, also borders Lake Michigan.  And in winter that is a problem.  While the lake water is warmer than the air, moisture is sucked up into clouds and gives us, it is rumored, as many cloudy days as Seattle.  We all know it to be true as our spirits sag, until one day the sun comes out and the wonderland is back and winter woes are whooshed away for awhile.  Well, at least we have now passed the shortest day!  Can spring be far away?

Be sure to take some time an visit ABC Wednesday for many more explorations of W.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fallen vines covered with snow

When a tree comes down so do the vines (Virginia Creepers or wild grape) that have grown to the tree's top branches.  Here the curve of the wood lets one know that it is vine under the snow not a tree.  They provide a striking contrast to the otherwise linear nature of the woods.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Now you see it

Last night's moon floating above the almost-colored cloud, but tonight it will disappear a while, giving us a solstice when even the light of the moon leaves us.  Time to wear our wreath of candles and bring back the light!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow sky in the morning

These December snow days create marvelous morning skies.  The sun struggles to gain a footing among the swirling fingers of lake-effect snow clouds and we are usually walking in a light dusting of snow flakes.  Today the sun won out by noon but now at 2 pm has succumbed to the pale gray clouds floating in on a northwest wind off the lake.

Warmer skies can be seen on Skywatch Friday every Friday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Abstract

Yesterday the sun was shining and the patterns of the shadows were wonderful to behold.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

V for Vitality

A vision of vitality for V-day on ABC Wednesday.  Here are Willow (on the left) and her friend, Paca, (who lives in Milwaukee) having a very vivacious romp up the path through the meadow on Thanksgiving.  May your tongue hang out today because you are having so much fun!

For more explorations of V-day, please visit the gang at ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

big snow coming?

The blizzard warnings are out, but hopefully we will miss the worst of it.  This is the woods this morning as it became light and the snow became heavier.  It is winter!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Unbelievable and unique for ABC Wednesday

Unfortunately on this day for words begining with U, this is not the hylocereus undata and which variety of night blooming cereus it is, I do not know.  I do know that it is unusual in its blooming habits, blooming only one night, but with spectacular results.  This specimen is so tall that it is now growing up through the air vent in the first floor ceiling!

Out of its natural habitat, these unbelievable blooms are rare for us.  These are photos from 2005. When it does, we invite friends to stay up with us and enjoy the spectacle.  An artist friend brings her watercolors for unique renderings of the bloom.  I whip out my camera! 

More words and photos about U words can be found on ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tools of the season

When it first started snowing  Sunday, we used the broom every few hours. However when we woke up yesterday, we had to get out the shovel.   I have found myself buying bright colors for use in winter.......

Monday, December 6, 2010

a snowy day

December has brought us snow, five inches at last count, and the world is beautifully draped in white with more snow falling.  The lake effect snow machine is working overtime!  Just double click on the photo and the snowflakes will really show up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Portrait of Late Fall in SW Michigan

And now the Lake Michigan snow machine is revving up.  Up to a foot of snow expected tomorrow for the county right next to us.  We should not get that much -- I will let you know.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Skywatch Friday

A late November morning and the sun has illuminated the storm clouds making it seem as if it is quite all right for that plane to head straight into them.  But is it?

For more dramatic sky scenes, please visit Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

are your eyes deceiving you?

No, they were not!  My first Christmas tree of the season and it is hanging from the ceiling of the Wood Fire restaurant in Dowagiac, MI.  My cousin and I were there to celebrate his birthday and enjoy good talk and good food.  If you live in SW Michigan, your will not be disappointed for lunch or dinner at the Wood Fire.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back to the UP for T-day on ABC Wednesday

It is the tantalizing Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.   They are a teaser of a waterfall because they are spilt into two sections, upper and lower, just like the state.  Part of a Michigan state park (visit Tahquqmenon Falls State Park website) they are probably the most visited falls in the UP because the park is just about two hours from the Mackinaw Bridge.
Here is the another view of the lower falls and the island that divides them.
Enjoy more pictures and information about Tahquamenon Falls at this excellent Wikipedia article.

And treat yourself to more explorations of the letter T on this week's ABC Wednesday.