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

Monday, February 28, 2011

One more ice shot!

Just yesterday, a week after the ice storm, this much ice remains on the Japanese downspout despite the rising temperatures.  The trees are mostly bare but the ground beneath them still carries shards of the ice that coated them completely.  Why does water that doesn't flow anymore so fascinate? 

Last night we had another thunder and lightening storm and pouring rain, but the temperatures hovered around 32 and today the snow left on the ground, and there is still several inches of snow on the ground despite the rain, is brittle and frozen.  Tough to walk on now if we had tramped down the snow on previous walks.  The driveway is just simply a rough ice rink!  It is the last day of February, a month that was like January in its winter wallop, and hopes are high for March to bring a thaw.  Even the lovers of winter are now desperate for a respite!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

End of the ice for Shadow Sunday

The snow under the pines exhibits the dents of falling pieces of ice as the "weeping" pines lose their cover of frozen water. 

More shadows appear on Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Last of the ice on Skywatch Friday

Yes, the sky in southwest Michigan is blue today -- at least, it was this bright at noon today, although now at two in the afternoon the clouds are back.   So it goes.

The sun was working its will on the ice remaining on our trees.  In trying to capture the falling ice, I chanced to catch another cardinal.  I thought this additional posting featuring a cardinal would satisfy their hurt feeling, but they are now clamoring for header status like the bluejay!

Please seek out more skies from the around the world on this week's Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Equal time for the Cardinals

These cardinals saw that bluejay in the header and staged a sit in for equal time.  So here they are: fire in midst of ice!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Residing in ice

A closeup of the Red Pine between the houses encased in ice.  It is "weeping" like the White Pine in the front yard and blocking the walk.  We have had to forge new pathways in many places since Sunday night's ice storm.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In fine fettle for ABC Wednesday

Fixin’ to find a seed or two to keep themselves fit as a fiddle, my feathery friends flit about the feeder. Finally, in a flurry of feathers, they fly off to fresher venues to further their fight for winter survival.  P.S. I think this is a female finch.

Fiddlin' around on the net to find out more about the idiom, “fit as a fiddle,” I discovered that it was a song in the movie Singing in the Rain.  And then found this You Tube video of Gregory Hines and Steve Martin singing and dancing their way through it. Fabulous!  
And for finer and definitely refined f-blogs, please visit my unfeathered friends at ABC Wednesday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yikes! now an Ice storm!

There in the middle is a white pine who has turned into a weeping pine from the the weight of the ice that came last night.  Electricity has been out in SW Michigan for thousands.  We are some of the lucky ones whose power is back  -- on again at noon after going out at about 3 am last night.  It was a cold dark world we awoke to, but beautiful once it was light out.  Unfortunately there are many broken tree limbs all around us. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ready for summer

A pale winter sun is setting, and highlighting these two empty Adirondack chairs on the shores of Pleasant Lake.  Most but all of the snow cover is diminishing in the 40 degree temperatures of the last few days, there were still brave, or nutty, ice fisherman on the lake, but no one prepared to sit themselves in the setting sun.

For shots of shadows, please visit the intrepid photographer "Hey Harriet."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cloud travels for Skywatch Friday

Imagine a cloud traveler nestled in the warm, bright billows,
Wandering past the moon and sun, wondering at the worlds beyond.
So swept up in golden clouds, all words fade into stardust.

Find other sky dreams at Skywatch Friday.  There Klaus has shared a magical sunrise with us.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the amaryllis that could!

This Picotee Amaryllis has taken its sweet time to bloom.  Another Picotee, purchased from the same grower at the same time (in October), bloomed just before Christmas, while this beauty just opened last Sunday!  Now it is the ray of light against a gray day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A fan of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Here's Willow watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night.  She would leave her post when a commercial came on (just like her human friends), unless the commercial had dogs in it.  She took the elimination of the Golden Retriever in stride, but took to her couch when those yippy little terriers came on!

We are celebrating the 1st anniversary of her adopting us today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Egregious (how many pins can dance on a baseball hat?)

More egregious (and why does a piece of cheese dance on its top?) 

most egregious (and what is that noise those angels are making?)

You see before you the extravagant accoutrements of an excited fan, an esteemed friend.  So I fervently hope this E-Day entry does not ensue in enmity of any sort between us.  Why did I bypass exemplify or epitomize or a simple excellent for this extraordinary display of team loyalty?  Will I  end up paying for this; might I eventually have regrets?

I will admit: even I was excited for the Packers, once they exited the Bears from the National Football League playoffs.  Super Bowl Sunday is a great excuse for a party and we had a very enjoyable one.  So why I have now engaged in coupling this ecstatic Packer fan's accoutrements with this particular adjective?   Because I love this word and it was the first e-word to enter my noggin as I worked on exactly what to do for E-Day  Egregious is wonderful to the ear as it glides off your tongue.  Then the problem became how to exemplify it...........

Eureka!  a Packers cap and cheese horn!  I am afraid the definition fits exactly and excellently.  Yes, we see the conspicuous in these photos, and, especially, the conspicuously bad.  But who has ever expounded on the good taste of football fans?!

P.S. Webster also gives “distinguished” as an archaic form of meaning -- an egregious error when applied in this case!

I extend an invitation to you to visit other E-Day habitues at ABC Wednesday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Revealed by the thaw

Temperatures in the 40's for the last two days are bringing buried items to light, like these seed pods of the money plant.  Willow and I tramped through the lower woods today, slipping and sliding in the wet but still deep snow.  There are deep deer tracks everywhere and we followed their lead, for the most part.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


It was a magical day in the woods.  Sun-sparkled snow contrasted with densely-dark tree shadows.  Going forward for more magic was hampered by deep snow!   Find more scenes with shadows on Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today's sunny vistas

It is time to stop the complaints about gray days!  This is today and the sunny vista from the top of the hill looking west.  We actually got into the woods today with Gene blazing a trail on snowshoes and me tramping down snow behind him.  It was hard work except for Willow who was everywhere, of course, delighted to be off the driveway for the first time in a week and a half.  It is amazing how little the snow has compacted, but that will probably change this week with temperatures in the upper thirties -- a veritable heat wave for us.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Typical winter sky, almost

Typical in that it is snowing and the skies are gray.  Not typical in that the sun is also almost out.  You will be happy to learn that this weeklong lament for the winter sun is over. 

Happy Skywatch Friday from Michigan!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Yesterday was dreaming, today is reality........... However, I must admit the drifts of snow in the sunshine are beautiful, too!  The tree trunks mirror yesterday's sail masts, but no one is strolling through this snow.  Willow and I have been kept from the paths in the woods for a week now and we long for a thaw.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Dazzling sunny day, dunes behind you........ definitely perfect for dawdling on the sandy beach with your dog or drifting on the calm water in your dingy, be it catamaran or kayak..........  Or simply dozing in your beach chair after dashing, splashing, your way into a  great lake........  Oh, drat, my vision is damaged!  It is but a dastardly day dream on a dreary winter day..........

For more or less dreamy words beginning with D, please visit ABC Wednesday where the denizens are determined to delight you each week.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sun and shadow

Our card table in the nook is warmed by the sun and wood of the bright light of a February day in winter.   My cousin Tom rescued this old cherry table at least 25 years ago and restored it to its present beauty.  It began its second life as a card table in my parents' living room.  That tradition continues with cribbage, canasta, and Russian Bank mornings after breakfast.  Retirement is a tough life.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

After the blizzard

She came by with her mother to check out the cedar trees right next to the kitchen windows.  The snow cover for the last month plus the addition of the deeper snow during Tuesday's blizzard has made finding food difficult for the deer.  But I don't think she looks too skinny.  At our neighbor's the deer are helping themselves to the sunflower seeds set out for the deer.  Another friend feed them corn.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources advises not feeding the deer, but it is hard to follow that advice in this severe weather.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Morning moon

This simply beautiful waning moon brought me joy on a cold January 31st morning!

More skies await you at Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tracking the deer

There were no deer tracks in the snow yesterday, but today we woke to see the trails once more on a very bright but cold (10 degrees) day.  Willow and I count on the deer to break a path for us through all the snow.  Yesterday we could only walk on the driveway, once it was plowed at 2 pm in the afternoon.  Our very skilled plowman had been at it since 3 am in the morning!  He had to plow his way down Abbey Road to even get to his commercial jobs in Three Rivers.  When we talked to him, he admitted to being very tired.  The schools in our county are open today, but schools to the north and west of us are stilled closed.

Today the sun is creating a sparkling world, a winter day to remember! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And the C's came crashing in

Such calm I felt as I considered how to compose a contribution for C-day.   I have a calico cat and a week ago I had captured her in a photo crouched on the porch railing.   As I contemplated the photo, I began to realize it was crammed with C’s: behind her the cedar shingles of the house and the cable from the satellite dish plus through the window to her right a lighted bulb on the Christmas tree.  “Criminetly!!!” I cried,  “there’s even the clapper of the chimes hanging above her cranium!  And by cracky!  those blurry blobs in the foreground are snow crowns on the seedpods of the Purple Coneflowers.”

But I confess: there are more C’s caught up in this story.  This calico’s name is Caliste/Kalliste which in Greek means most beautiful.  Her nickname is Cali/Kali from the fierce Hindu goddess, the Dark Mother.   And her personality contains both qualities.   Just like the letter C itself – is she soft or hard?  She will cuddle up on your lap any chance she gets.  But she is not a companion to the other cats (Ruby and Abbey, another calico) and merely tolerates, rather condescendingly at that, the company of Willow.   How could we have done such a callous thing as bring a dog into her castle!

I am now utterly confused by the number of C’s cascading into this contribution and will caress the keyboard no longer.  If you crave less contrived and corny contact with C’s, please join the company of Mrs. Nesbitt and companions at ABC Wednesday.