Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Snowstorm
Yesterday was the first Big Snow for this winter. It began in the afternoon, and by evening several inches had fallen, making roads slick and difficult to travel.
My usual twenty-five minute drive home from work took over an hour.

Early evening, Amish horse and buggy

The wet, heavy snow brought down branches and broke electric lines, causing power failures throughout the area.  Service was restored to my house at around 2:00 am.
I awoke this morning to sunshine and the special silence of a world blanketed in snow.
Even the wire fences were jacketed, and every fence post had its snowy hat

A stretch of open water along my drive to work

Brilliant sunshine on icy branches

The daylight hours are growing very short, and I need my headlights for the drive home from work now.  In less than a month, though, the days will begin growing longer once again.
Spring will come, as it always does.
Until then, we have snow and the beauty of winter.
Life is good!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A single yellow flower

Because yellow is my favorite color, and it is a dark and dreary day here.
Yellow cheers me, and reminds me of good friends.

and two pair of finished socks for my grandsons.
The little ones are Ethan's, in some leftover Regia (I think) from my sister's stash. 
The larger pair is Robby's, in DK weight, I think Emu, from my stash, in Green Bay Packers colors.  He wanted house socks in orange (his favorite color), but I didn't have any DK orange in my stash, and I am knitting entirely from stash at the moment.

Nothing much new going on. Thanksgiving was very nice and I am now a year older, having turned fifty-five on Thanksgiving Day.
I qualify now for the Senior Discount at the movie theater.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks
It is Thanksgiving Day in the USA today.  The turkey is roasting, pies are baked, the cream is whipped, the gelatin dessert is cooling in the refrigerator.  In a little while the second flurry of preparation will begin.  I will have eleven here for dinner today, and the table will be full! I'm looking forward to all the good company, good food, and hugs from my grandchildren. 

This is a time to remember and give thanks for the blessings of the previous year, although I do try very hard to do that every day.  This year I am thinking much of my sister, who left us in 2010, the two dear friends I lost in the spring of this year, my mother and my husband's parents, gone so many years now.  I remember the family and friends who are far away, and the ones who are near.  I remember the sunny days of my childhood, and many, many happy times over the past fifty-five years.  It's a good thing to stop and make a special effort to do this, as we so often lose track of those we love, in our busy lives and day-to-day worries.

I am thankful for all of the wonderful people who have graced my life and for all the special and also the ordinary places I've seen.  I'm thankful for good health, strong hands, hugs and kisses, sunshine and snowfall, all the creatures of this earth (well, maybe not so grateful for spiders, but I suppose they have their place, too), for the flowers and the trees and the grasses, for lakes and rivers and especially for the little stream that cuts through my back yard.  I am so very thankful to be alive and well and able to prepare a feast for some of the people that I love.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Small Joys...

Someone once told me that we are never farther than three miles from open water here in Michigan.  This little lake is the site of many happy days in my life.  My uncle and his brother-in-law built a tiny stone cottage on its banks many years ago and that is the place where my family reunion has been held every summer, for as long as I can remember.

Marl Lake Sunset

Last evening, there was a particularly lovely sunset and I stopped on my way home to snap a couple of quick shots with my phone camera.  I need to remember to carry a regular camera in the car!

A delightfully tacky Christmas shirt

 Christmas colors:
...and socks colorful enough to give the shirt a run for its money.

Santa is something of a landmark in the town where I work.  He has been at the window of my little shop for many years.  This year I took him home and replaced his faded trousers with a new pair.  Last year he fell out of the window during a windstorm, and it looked for all the world as if Santa had actually fallen from the sky and died on the roof of Apple Creek Alley...we got him down as quickly as possible, so as not to traumatize any small children!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Twenty-four hours
Thursday morning.
Most of the autumn color has gone now, but this small pear tree, planted two falls ago, retains its bright leaves.
 The marsh is preparing for winter.  The grass is still green, although it has stopped growing.

In the afternoon, it began, the first snowfall of this winter.
The sky darkened and the snow fell;
great, splashing flakes that quickly covered the ground.
The ride home was white and wet and I was filled with wonder at the beauty of this fresh winter.
I must re-learn now to move a bit more slowly, to drive more carefully, to mind my steps and take my time.

There was a full moon in the night.
It cast its light on the snow-covered earth and woke me.
I burrowed beneath the covers and went peacefully back to sleep.
And, in the morning, this:
...and this:
 I love the snow.
It is a balm, a comfort, a quilt of crystal-white to cover a sleeping world as it rests and dreams, perhaps, of the coming spring.
It would be very easy to forget that winter can also be an enemy,
a predator,
a force with which to be reckoned.
Living where I do, I know that we must learn to work with winter, to prepare, to watch, to be aware of sudden changes in temperatures and conditions and even then, sometimes, humans lose their battle with the elements.
Even so, I love winter, and I cannot imagine living where it does not come in this way.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Wintry, Blustery Day 
It has been gray, cloudy, and windy, but still relatively mild for the third of November.  The skies have been pewter-colored all day, and it is lightly raining right now, with a temperature of around 48 degrees F.

I had the day off and around eighty miles of errands to run. I had not visited our local covered bridge in many years, so I stopped along the way to do a little sight-seeing.  The river is wide here, and it must have been a cold and windy trip indeed, crossing the St. Joseph River before the bridge was erected. 

 The Langley Covered Bridge has been carefully preserved over the years.  It still sees quite a bit of use, as the country road crossing it leads directly into Centreville, Michigan, the county seat.  In the five minutes or so that I spent there taking pictures, at least a half-dozen passenger cars and trucks rumbled across.

Hats in progress

Done, and done. Two "Jacques Cousteau" hats for my friends, Steve and Bob, and the Wild and Wooly Socks pattern test for Kathy Nehrenz.  As you can see, the chrysanthemums have faded considerably in the past week.

This is a wonderful pair of billboards that I pass on my drive home from work every day. 
I was a great fan of Jim Henson and his Muppets. 
I've always listed these three things as my Impossible Dreams:
1. Work for Jim Henson at his Muppet Workshop
2. Go up in the U.S. Space Shuttle
3. Sing backup for James Taylor


1. Jim Henson died
2. NASA never called and there will be no more shuttle flights now
3. James Taylor has been singing with the same group of backup vocalists for at least twenty years now.

And the other one...well, you know who you are.
The red billboard reads,
"This year, thousands of men will die from stubbornness"
Get a physical.
Stay healthy.
We care.