Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Ed and I are finally coming out from under the flu cloud that set in last week. Ed came down with the fever and aches a week ago Sunday. I followed by Tuesday. Last week almost feels like a blurr. We both tried to keep doing what absolutely needed to be done, but also just stayed home as much as possible.
So, take caution. This is nasty stuff this year. We fought it off with good food, movies, Mucinex and Tylenol. Oh, and rest.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Well, we thought all week that we wouldn't see the full moon this month. The weather has been rainy, damp, and quite cold. No frost, just dreary November.
There were clues, though. At night the clouds seemed to glow and we knew that there was a big, bright moon up above just wanting to gleem down on Michigan.
The skies cleared on Thursday afternoon and a big wondrous November moon with its soft white almost halogen glow rose in the northwest. The big wind generators reflected the light of the moon. Newly harvested cornfields light up like dull tan patches of shining ground.
The herds of white tailed deer probably moved hither and yon; hopefully, their days are somewhat numbered here in the Thumb as firearm deer season starts tomorrow and there have been way too many car/deer accidents this fall.
So, how come we saw the moon even though weather has held the Upper Midwest in its cloudy grip this week? I checked the Modis Imagery this morning and found the answer -- a big sucker hole that drifted right over the Thumb yesterday afternoon. The photo above was taken about 3PM EST.
Cool! Mr. Moon shone down on us last night and it felt so good!
Click on the photo in this blog post to see the satellite photo up close and personal. I check this website often, especially in the winter months when it is fun to track the formation and movement of ice on the Great Lakes.
Here's the link to the Great Lakes Modis satellite imagery:
Friday, November 7, 2008
Fall planting! Who would have ever guessed that during the week of Election Day we'd be thinking about (and doing!) golfing and gardening?
So, I spent one and a half wonderful hours in the gardens at Cedar Bluff yesterday afternoon. I planted three new spring and fall blooming irises that Josh helped me pick out. Then I added three daylilies (including one named "Bella Lugosi" which was named to the Top Ten by the Wisconsin Daylily Society and is pictured in this post) to ever the increasing varieties of daylilies at Cedar Bluff. These will be my "In Honor of President Elect Obama" daylilies.
I moved some hostas and pulled out the now frost bitten geranium. I've been row composting rotten garbage, so I dug another trench in the garden and buried rotten pears and leftover kitchen scraps. I replanted daffodil bulbs and took a chance on planting a bulb selection that's resided in the frig for over a year.
The back hatch of the BNB (Big New Buick -- the Rainier) is filled with pots of hostas for the farm, bone meal, and planting tools.
This morning is rainy. Intellicast's radar shows snow over Minnesota. The reports from the Dakotas include blizzard warnings. Still, Ed and I ordered more daffodils from Jung's in Randolph, Wisconsing this morning. We put them into the cedar naturalized areas around Cedar Bluff.
Are we late gardeners? You betcha!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Brandon Hofmeister, also pictured, is also from the Thumb of Michigan. He grew up in Sebewaing here in Huron County and also works on the Governor's staff.
Nice to see you in the papers, Liesl!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The guidebooks warned us. "Japan is a cash based economy," they said.
"Sure, but it also says you can use a credit card. Let's prepare with both cash and credit cards," is what Ed and I said to each other in the days immediately before our departure. We exchanged currency at Detroit Metro Airport and that carried us quite far.
Ed also armed himself with an ATM card since Peter used ATMs almost exclusively during his tour in Japan. Pete said he'd just go into a Seven Eleven convenience store, pop in front of an ATM, and he was good for cash.
I had called one of the credit card companies that I work with. "I'm going to be in Japan from Sept. 6 through the 15th and want to use my card."
"No problem," they said. "Thanks for warning us."
We hadn't counted on a limit on the amount of cash that you can get out of an ATM in one 24 hour period and we hadn't counted on having to pay cash (a lot of it) for tickets to four performances to see Peter in BLAST MIX II. So, toward the end of the week in Fukuoka, we were counting our yen quite closely! Ed had several days in a row when he couldn't get more than 30000 yen (that's about $300) at once. Consequently, we were borrowing from Peter here and there to pay for meals since tickets were 22000 yen (that's about $220) a crack.
So, what have we learned. Well, pay attention to guidebooks that say CASH ECONOMY!
Plus, as our country continues in this deep financial mess, we ought to seriously consider what it would be like to be a cash only economy. Not nice. There is a value to credit that we all count as almost a given. Let's hope that there is a resolution to the economic crisis soon. Our legislators should probably be reminded that as important as it is to get things right, sometimes it is necessary to get things done.
Legislation that works is what we need. We need it soon. The perfecting can come later before the credit crisis turns into a recession/depression cash based economy.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wow, have I been hit with jet lag! I fully intended to write another post about travel in Japan when I got back to Michigan. Well, my circadian rhythms are so screwed up that I'm struggling to just get the laundry from the trip done.
Last night I was up until 4 am; heard the clock chime twelve times this morning, but when I got downstairs to look at a clock, it was 11 am. Reading a newspaper takes me an hour. Coffee has effect only after two plus cups. One hour I'm spaced out; the next hour I'm wide awake.
I did take a long walk last night. Walked down Geiger Road just after sunset so that when I returned, walking east, I could see the rising full moon in all of its clear-night-in-the-country glory. Had my FM radio on and earbuds stuffed in my ears and was listening to a show about mythical beasts like dragons and the yeti and creatures of the dark. Great stuff to consider as the moon appears full and glowing on an autumn night on a lonely country road.
Anyway, I'll get to the travel wrapup post soon.
On the plus side, Ed and I have beeen cooking these last two nights. Last night was scrambled CSA eggs with wonderful orangey yolks (high in Omega-3's, I'm told) with parsley from our garden, cheddar cheese and bacon. We added the last fresh blueberries (we've eaten about 20 pounds of blueberries this summer) and a sliced pear from our orchard to the menu. Topped it off with vanilla ice cream covered with Ed's raspberries, just picked that evening. And toast! How we are loving toast. Garrison Keillor says toast can solve the world's problems. Toast is like coffee -- you enjoy the wonderful scent of the bread toasting and then you eat that warm, slightly crunchy texture. Mmmm.
The dryer buzzed. Off to fold!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Monday, Sept. 15, 2008 -- 7:10 am
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We ordered okonomiyaki with beef, pork and veggies. The waiter brought a bowl with chopped cabbage, what looked like mayo and an egg. He stirred all together and put the ingredients into a shaped pile on the grill. Meat or veggies went on top. He left for five minutes or so. On return, he flipped the "pancake" and sprinked what might have been very thin dried bacon on top. Everything smelled very good since it was cooking right in front of us. Peter also ordered sea scallops with butter which they brought to him and he grilled separately.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
First we came upon the Atomic Dome, a structure that was partially destroyed by the blast and has been preserved as a reminder of the power of nuclear weapons. Walking beyond the dome, we came in site of the full park which has been built over the area that was "ground zero" for the explosion. At this point of the day, we still did not have an idea of how large of an area in central city Hiroshima had been destroyed by the immediate impact of the atomic bomb.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Pauline made 12 nine-inch shoo fly blocks. I pieced the top using three inch sashing and six inch borders. The quilt is about 51 x 56 -- more a square than a rectangle. Fabrics for this quilt were chosen by Danielle Damen of Graywood Studio right here in Pigeon and ordered from Anna Lena's in Washington State. Karen Snyer, proprietor of Anna Lena's, is the designer of the fabrics.
I used my Gammill Classic longarm to quilt the Baby Burl Shoo Fly Quilt and Baby Burl's Momma To Be, Heidi, was pretty pleased with the result.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
There's an envelope in my summer golf notebook that has a ten dollar bill inside of it. On the outside of the envelope are the words "Most Improved -- $10." No bells. No whistles. Just a white envelope from someone's stash of office supplies.
The "most improved" envelope was handed to me last night at the Bird Creek Ladies' League Golf Banquet. I was delighted to receive the honor and was even more complimented when Martha Babcock, League President, asked me to read my post "Evening Shadows on Bird Creek Number Nine" http://fromunderthewillow.blogspot.com/2008/07/evening-shadows-on-bird-creek-number.html to the golfers at the dinner.
My scores went from the mid-80's to the mid-60's for the season. I knew I was improving, but really didn't pay a lot of attention to the numbers. I do keep track of gross, net, handicap, putts, and points on a spreadsheet and find that it's fun to watch the statistics within the statistics.
On a really lousy golfing day you can always find something to cheer about. Maybe there's been a long putt that sunk into the cup miraculously. Or maybe you didn't need all ten strokes that the handicapping system allows on a par five hole. The final score of a nine hole round may not reflect all of the good and bad of a round of golf. It's just the final score -- one of many numbers that tells the story of swings and putts and lost balls and broken tees.
So becoming the Most Improved Golfer for this season's league play is just a thrill. I joined the league in spring because of my sixtieth birthday in February. I told myself that I would do some things differently this year. Summer golf has been a new thing and a good thing for me.
The next new thing is travel to Japan in September to see our son Peter Carl Franklin Eichler perform in Fukuoka, Japan with the cast of the Broadway show, "Blast!." Maybe I'll put the Most Improved ten dollar bill in my wallet and take it to Japan as a reminder to try more new things!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Huron City Museums hosts a Sawmill Day when logs are cut, shingles are made, and steam prevails. In this video you see the bark side of a log being cut into boards. The slab outside (piece that has bark on it) is moved to a large saw powered by a steam engine.
Interestingly enough, the slab wood is then fed back into the steam engine to provide more power to cut the wood. Full circle power. No electricity. Lots of hard work.
Enjoy the sight of sawdust flying, men working slowly and surely, and the buzz of the saws.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Well, I really got behind. You'll find a new post in July that you may not have read yet. It's called Summer Visitors at Cedar Bluff and you can find it here: http://fromunderthewillow.blogspot.com/2008/07/summer-visitors-at-cedar-bluff.html
There may be several more "back-dated" posts coming, so please be patient and scroll back through the posts occasionally. I'll try to highlight them with links for you.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
My Dad's blog, http://sunnysidefarmbystan.blogspot.com/ has two sparkling entries that recite the emotions and events of those days of remembering Howard Hayes. Be sure to look at his entry about Howard's Last Trip. This last journey was truly a tribute to the farming and family life that my cousin Howard lived. http://sunnysidefarmbystan.blogspot.com/2008/07/howards-last-trip.html
Dad is a retired United Methodist pastor. Because he preached every Sunday for years, he always had to focus his thoughts and write "for publication" (the pulpit is a form of publication) each week. That discipline allows him command of language and thought. I'm proud that he has entered the blogging world and look forward to his posts. Well done, Dad!
One more comment about attending Howard's funeral. Ed and I left Michigan on Thursday evening. We planned to drive to Manistique, Michigan which is about half way of the 550 mile trip. We love the drive up the Lower Peninsula, across the Big Mac Bridge, over to Wisconsin via US 2, and then we drop down the eastern side of Wisconsin to the Fond du Lac and Kettle Moraine area. We figured that the funeral would probably be on Sunday.
As it turned out, Howard's service was on Monday so we had an extra day in our schedule. We knew that when we left on Thursday evening, but figured that we'd give ourselves that day away as a tribute to Howard. I called it "Howard's Day" and we spent that day in the Manistique area. First we ate breakfast at a delightful little cafe downtown near the paper mill.
Then we drove out US2 to Stoney Point Golf Course and golfed 18 holes. I posted by best score of the season on the first nine. Next we drove along Indian Lake and visited the Father Baraga memorial there. We ate supper that night at a bistro/bar in Manistique where I had excellent tomato bisque soup.
Howard's gift to us was a day away together in the U.P. as we headed to the memorial service and the times of remembering him with family and friends. We paused. We played. We gave thanks for a life well lived. We remembered.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tonight is different.
Shot 1: My drive sails across the creek (thank you, instructor Brian Natzel, for teaching me how to drive and thank you, Martha Babcock, for telling me to go get lessons!) and into the left sand bunker. Hmm. I can do this, I'm thinking.
Shot 2: Out of the bunker with a sand wedge and onto the fringe of the green on the high, north side. Hmm, getting better.
Shot 3: Onto the green. Holy Cow! This is really getting better!
Shot 4: I putt the ball into the hole. I'm one over for a bogey, but, thanks to the handicap that I carry, I can subtract 2 strokes. That gives me 2 strokes for the hole and I'm now one under -- a birdie.
Now none of this takes a Tiger Woods-ish rocket scientist to figure out. It's just significant to me. For, in my first summer of taking golf seriously, I finally remember each shot and can recite the specifics somewhat. That's so cool! I can't tell you about specific plays in baseball at Comerica Park even though I watch lots of baseball. I've seen the Michigan State Spartan football team play countless times and there are no wonderful images of caught passes or quarterback sneaks in my memory photographs.
But this summer, finally, and maybe only for a few weeks, I can see the evening shadows on the Number Nine green clearly and I know that I can get a drive over that creek again and that's totally cool for someone who just about quit golf (for the umpteenth millioneth time) in early June.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
"Did you see this?" he asked me as I walked the property with him. "The mother must have told this little one to stay put." I dashed into the house to grab a camera, fully expecting that the fawn would be gone by the time I returned. It stayed and here is the result -- snuggled in the grasses and wild strawberries, a spring baby.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Griffin Henry had a new experience on Thursday evening when his Grandpa Ed was out mowing the front lawns at Cedar Bluff. Finn had eaten his supper and was out for a stroller ride with Grandma WJ pushing. We walked north along the bicycle lanes on M-25 and then, when we came back to Cedar Bluff, we pulled into the driveway to watch Zero Turn Lawn Mowin' Grandpa.
Wow! Was Finny interested! In this video he chats a little and watches intently. The video is 1:23 minutes long. The voice talking to Finny is Wanda who also ran the camera.
Here's a wide eyed little boy at his nine month old best -- learning about the big, puzzling world with wonder in his eyes.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Sunday storms took out the power at our farm and we're still without electricity there. Ed has called Detroit Edison several times a day and has been told to expect service some time on Friday. Meantime, I'm functioning out of the lakehouse south of Harbor Beach where I can see another storm gathering in the west again this morning.
Most food in the frig and freezer is lost. That's about all. We're lucky to have a second home to use. I had intended to work at my Pigeon office this week, but have nine month old grandson Griffin Henry Clark here with me at the lake. Finny's mom and dad are on vacation. Finn's brother Max is in Bad Axe with Grandpa Don and Grandma joni. So, all the Huron County grandparents are "on duty" this week.
Finny was going to stay at the farmhouse with Ed and me. Not so! We'll have to be lake people this week.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Storms came thru theThumb tonite. We were lucky. There was no significant damage. This storm was a part of a long, sweeping front that spread out across the Midwest.
Looking west northwest along the driveway to Cedar Bluff, here's the front as it approached the east side of the Thumb and was about to pull out across Lake Huron. This storm carried dust in front of it and you can see the thick dustiness along the horizon line in this photo.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
It was a big day for the Thumb, especially for Pigeon and Elkton, the two towns that saw the most of the Governor's entourage. Our daughter, Liesl Clark, works at the Michigan Deparment of Agriculture and she wrangled a seat on the press bus that accompanied the Governor. My husband Ed and I hung around the hallways at Laker Elementary along with Liesl's good friend, Danielle. We got to meet many of her work colleagues and some of the reporters whom we see on shows like "Off The Record."
I got to meet and chat with Rick Pluhta. Cool! We met Liz Boyd, the guv's press secretary. Also cool! I told Liz that I read the emails from the Governor's office regularly. I signed up on the state website and appreciate keeping up with the happenings (well, maybe not the really insider stuff!) through these regular emails. The Governor's office sends out an email every time the flags are lowered in the state to honor a fallen Michgan soldier. Those emails I read carefully and take time to pause and remember.
So anyway, here is a photo of the Governor walking from Laker Elementary over to the High School. You can see the Laker windmills in the background. The woman on the right is Liz. I've also included a photo of some of the acrostics that Laker students made for the event. The one I've included was written by Emily Hoepner, one of our little second cousins.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
It's almost Easter again. Christians all over the world observe the story of this week in an annual re-telling of the events of Passion Week. It can be a tough week for those of us who know and honor the end of the story. To be pressed down by the horror of crucifixion belies the uplift of Easter. Instead, this year, my thoughts move to Gandhi's quote that values one deed of kindness over many prayers.
Gandhi said, "To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer."
As always, there is a time for prayer. I cannot discount that. My arguments and pleadings and gimmes with and to the divine One are frequent and sometimes plaintive. But, this week, I'll try more deeds of kindness, emails and written words to family, some phone calls, maybe a meal cooked with love, cookies made with care. For now, that might be bettter. That might bring Easter's touch closer this year.