Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Quilt For Baby Burl

Heidi Eichler Burl and her husband Mike Burl are expecting a little one this fall so Great Grandma To Be Pauline and I (Great Aunt To Be WJ) made a quilt for Baby Burl.

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

Most Improved and a Ten Dollar Bill

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" 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

Sawmill Days at Huron City in The Thumb

Shades of yesteryear! These are sights and sounds heard each summer in August here in The Thumb. The video is 1:16 long.

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

Social Calendar: Clark Boys Visit Huron County

Special to From Under the Willow
For Immediate Publication

August 12, 2008

Mr. Griffin Henry Clark, known to his family as Finn, enjoyed a week in Huron County with his maternal grandparents, Edwin and Wanda Eichler. The Eichlers entertained Mr. Clark at their lakeside home south of Harbor Beach where their grandson resided with them.

Mr. Clark took numerous naps, enjoyed many highchair feeding hours, and played extensively with blocks, small animals, and wiffle balls. Occasionally Mr. Clark escaped the view of both grandparents and attempted to climb steps. While he did negotiate one or two stairs, usually his grandfather or grandmother rescued him from any further nonsense.

Mr. Clark's brother, Maxwell, stayed in Huron County for the same week, too. The elder Mr. Clark resided in Bad Axe with his paternal grandparents, Donald and Joni Clark, at their Huron Avenue residence. When interviewed by his father following the almost weeklong stay, Maxwell was heard to say that the pool was the absolute best thing about the week. Maxwell and his father, John Ryan Clark, did venture out to the Huron Community Fair on the day of the deluge. They returned from their midway adventure with very muddy feet.

The Clark boys are frequent visitors to Huron County this summer. Both of their parents are natives of Huron County. The boys' mother, Liesl Eichler Clark, grew up on a farm south of Pigeon and met their father, John Ryan Clark, at county high school extracurricular activities.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Posts You May Have Missed

Please be patient with me! I missed publishing some of the posts that I've been working on. Blogger allows me to write and save posts as edits. Doing so gives me time to choose and adjust photos as needed.

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:

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.


Wanda J.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Presenting the Lamb Trophy

My publications company, Graywood Designs, sponsors the Grand Champion Pen of Lambs trophy at the Huron Community Fair here in Huron County, Michigan. Ever since 2004's fair I have presented the trophy to the winner with an assistant, Mary Quintessa Damen. Tess who is now almost five years old has become an "old pro" at trophy presentations.

This year Tessa was joined by both of my grandchildren, Max Clark (almost four) and Finn Clark (almost one). The young lady in the solid pink shirt is actually the winner of the trophy. She and her friend were great at playing along with my wish to have all of the children in on the presentation.

Tessa and Max got to pose with the trophy and ribbon before the ceremony in the show ring. Jenny Wheeler, sheep publicist extraordinaire, coached them for their photo.

What a joy to bring children on board for this special agricultural event!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Judy's Gardens

Picture a drive down a county road in south central Huron County. We're headed for Judy Zimmer's gardens at her farm just north of the Thumb's Octagon Barn. This is an area of Huron County where many roads are gravel and where small farmsteads are still plentiful.

We see Judy's barn ahead and turn in underneath a canopy of huge spreading trees. There's Judy's farmhouse and behind it are the gardens and lawns. We pull up near the potting shed and are greeted warmly by Judy.

Her gardens are a wonder. Filled with hostas, sedums, coneflowers, sculpture, stones, rock garden spots, and lilies, the plantings wander throughout the back yard. Carefully framed with edgings of all sorts, the artful arrangements of the beds form soothing lines that guide you to a seating area located on the foundation of an old building.

Here we stop and chat about the beauty around us. Judy remembers every plant, every stone. She is a whizz at botanical names and can recite the origin of almost every plant. "Wal-Mart, The Plant Farm, from my friend Fran" -- the list is long and detailed. The afternoon summer sun spotlights parts of the gardens and lets other areas fade away, almost as if some entity was saying "now look here, now there."

The charming potting shed is circled with coneflowers which she loves. Boxwoods edge the beds and there's a broken tile walkway at two of the doors. Plantings spill out of windowboxes. Beside the potting shed is the farm's pickup truck. "I couldn't get along without my pickup truck," Judy tells us. She's obviously moved tons of stone,piles of materials, plants and more plants to make this wonderful garden.

We brought tiny muffins for Judy who loves sweets. She sends us home with a coneflower to treasure. I plant it just outside my kitchen window where it is a reminder of an afternoon spent visiting in her enchanted garden.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Dad's Blog

So much has happened since I last posted to Willow. My cousin Howard died in mid July and his death entailed a five day car trip for Ed and me to Wisconsin to attend the funeral and be with family. Howard was my oldest cousin, my senior by almost eleven years, a fifth generation dairy farmer, dad, grandpa, husband, an all around great guy who always wanted to know "how are things with you" when we visited.

My Dad's blog, 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.

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.