About Chuck

I am retired after a career in electronics and in publishing. Today, my wife of 50+ years, Sylvia, and I live in a house on a hill beside a dirt road in rural west Michigan. We enjoy living in this country environment where livestock and wild life out number the human population.


Tuesday evening just after sunset, I saw a sun dog (also called a parhelion, meaning “beside the sun”). Unlike a rainbow they appear in the sky near the sun — usually about 22 degrees from it and at the same altitude. This phenomenon is caused by ice crystals high in cirrus clouds that refract sunlight and, like tiny prisms, break the light up into colors. Red is closest to the sun, blue and violet are away from the sun. The colors are not clearly defined, nor are they vivid.

Tuesday evening after sunset

Tuesday evening shortly after sunset

Here’s a closer look:

A sun dog at day's end

A sun dog at day’s end

Just seeing tiny bit of color in the sky made me feel better.  Then the snow came.

It reminds me of the story of the calm old man.  When asked how he could remain so laid back despite the trials and tribulations that beset him, he answered, “I just think of my favorite Bible verse.”

“What’s that,” he was asked.

He responded, “It came to pass.”  He went on to explain that it didn’t come to stay.

Warm weather on the way this weekend.  Yes, I can hold on until then.  Can you?

Not Stuck–Yet

Our friend, Sharkbytes, wrote this in an online comment: “Haha. Yup, It’s Michigan, it’s winter. We are shaped like a mitten.”

I may not be ready to go out in public, but I’m not stuck in the house.  Here’s proof.

At least more is not falling

At least more is not falling

Thanks to Sylvia for leaving the Jeep here while she went to be with her dad.  Makes it easier to retrieve the mail.

I’m Still Here

Sorry, I’ve not been here for you lately.  I’ve fallen beneath the spell of a particularly nasty virus.  It nearly knocked Sylvia off her feet for two weeks.  And then, just when I thought I’d escape, it hit me.

I won’t try to guess why.  Perhaps the virus grew in virulence, or maybe maybe Sylvia is that much stronger than me.  Fact is, I’ve been hit harder–much harder.  I’ll spare you the details.

Pet Peeves


What irritates you?  I mean “angry enough to chew nails and spit rivets.”

For me it’s the announcers and annalists that cover certain sports events or news programs.  That keep repeating cutesy cliches and then grinning because they think they are clever.  Yes, I know that the second sentence of the first paragraph is a cliche.  However, it will [most probably] be a long time before I use it again.

I’m a NASCAR fan–perhaps I’m even an addict.  One of the NASCAR news programs that I regularly watch, features a personality that loves to throw out those cliches again, and again, and again.  <rant on> Sometimes I just want to stuff a dirty sock in that grinning mouth.  <rant off>  Yah, I know not very Christian of me, huh?  I worked very hard to exorcise those things from speech.  Perhaps that why it bugs me?

So what “pushes your buttons.”

This Week

Monday and Wednesday were beautiful sunshiny days.  Tuesday was cloudy and a bit damp today (Thursday) is very damp.

With Monday’s sunshine, farmers were in the fields early.  Traffic was [relatively] heavy–more than one vehicle per hour passing.  Harvesting equipment went by and then the trucks were running back and forth.  Some large trucks ran solo.  Others had farm wagons in tow.  As day came to an end, so did the activity.

Tuesday, the weather kept the neighbors out of the fields.

Wednesday followed a similar pattern to Monday.  However, when the sun went down, the activity didn’t cease.  Rain would begin overnight.  The harvest must be brought in.



This morning, I saw a deer on the lawn.  No two .  Make it three.  No four.  Two of them were racing around.  Not the high bounding leaps that you may have seen.  These two hugged the ground and went for all-out speed.

Oh yes, it is November.  It’s silly season for these critters.  Time to make the babies that will be born in the spring.  We have to be extra alert as we drive around our neighborhood.  Should I put the deer whistles back on my car?

Costume Season

Last week, Briana (granddaughter), posted that having red hair, she could take on a persona that others could not portray.  I waited patiently to find out the meaning of her statement.  Today I found out.

Briana and friend

Briana and friend

Can you name the character that she assumed last Friday?

About Time

I’m seeing reminders that DST ends tonight–or is it tomorrow early morning.  It’s all so confusing.  We sprang forward, and now we fall back.  Yes, that’s it.

Not my grandfathers clock

Not my grandfathers clock

As my friend, Vanilla, observed, “It is time for that nonsense again.”  I couldn’t agree more.  However, I suspect that it is now too late to turn back the clock by turning back the clock on turning back the clock, or more correctly setting it forward.

However we both live in the western edge of the time zone.  Geographically, we belong in the Central time zone.  Here in Michigan there were economic reasons for our change of zone.  According to the biography of William C Durant (one of the founders of GM) that I read, Durant wanted to be on the same [clock] time as his New York City bankers.  So he lobbied the state to change our time zone.  He won.

Tonight, before I retire, I’ll set the clocks back one hour.  Which got me thinking to thinking how nice it would be to set back the clock before retirement.  But there I go into fantasy . . Hey!  Look! A squirrel.

Why did I come here?


Sad, but true

Attention Deficit . . . Hey Look A Squirrel

It started this morning. I come into the office with coffee in hand.  I sit down at the computer, and after checking e-mails, I begin my Web-surfing routine.  First I visit my favorite comic strips.  At least I can start the day in a good mood.

Next, I visit my favorite blogs.  I come to Shark’s MQD blog and decide to leave a comment, but first I have to check a detail for inclusion in that comment.  I’ll have to do a search.  I should open a new tab to do that, but I already have more than a dozen tabs open on my browser.  Oh, I’ll just quick check my granddaughter’s FaceBook page and then I’ll do my search.  It won’t take a minute.

I have to click “like” on one post and leave a comment on another and . . . Oh look it’s her Mom’s birthday.  Surf over to Barbara’s page.  Post a birthday sentiment.  Then go to my page and post another birthday wish there.  Won’t take long at all.

I go back to the tab with Briana’s FB page and remember that I’m going to . . . oh yes.  I have to search for . . . what?  Ah yes, it’s for Shark.

I go back to her blog’s tab.  I had a real clever idea for a comment.  Yes, the operative word is “had.”  What do I need to check first?  What was the comment?

I remember what it was I forgot to tell Sylvia yesterday.  I get up and go find her and pass on the info that I should have given her yesterday.

Nellie (our cat) speaks to me as I pass, so I spend five or ten minutes petting and talking to her.  We’ve connected quite well in the past few weeks.

Did I tell you she slipped of the hassock and landed on me. It left a big scratch across my foot.  It looks nasty and red.  Antiseptic cream helps.

Oh.  Excuse me.  Where was I?  Oh yes, I’m petting the cat.  I finish that and go back to the office.

The browser is still open to Shark’s blog.  I had a clever comment for that.

What will I have for lunch?  Speaking of that, I’m thirsty.  I take a big gulp of wonderfully refreshing Guatemalan coffee.  Ahhh.

Oh yes, comment.  I read the post again.  What clever reaction could I have had to that?  Hmm, beats me.  I write, “Looks like everybody had a good time.”

I agree, that’s not even a little bit clever.  (Some days a a guy just has to “fake it.”)

On to the next blog, etc.

Summer . . .

Summer is gone and fall is fleeing.  The warmth of yesterday was followed by rain over night and more this morning.  Sylvia has nearly finished garden clean up.  Only a bit of cabbage remains to be harvested this year.

Garden nearly ready for winter.

Garden nearly ready for winter.

There is a pile of sawdust in the far corner of the garden this is the remains of a couple of tree stumps (not walnut).  It will sit there next year to break down.  The following year I’ll till it into the soil.  If we do that next year it will leech nitrogen (to aid in decomposition) from the soil.  We don’t use commercial fertilizer, so we’ll let it compost.

It was a good year for the garden.  Okay, only one parsnip grew from the planted seed.   Next year we need to plant winter squash.  We’re nearly out of the frozen bounty from the bumper crop we had last year.

The mower deck is off the tractor and the front-end loader is on.  The scraper blade will go on with first snow.

Today is much cooler than yesterday.  Each day, the lazy old sun seems to rise a bit lower in the sky than it did the day before.  The bitter part of fall approaches like a train in a tunnel.

At times like this, I realize . . . I really like summer. :awe:


We’ve been a bit more busy than usual over this last week.  In fact it was a week ago that the crew from the tree service came.  They spent Friday and Saturday trimming and cutting trees, hauling and piling brush and grinding out stumps.  They did a great job.  I can actually see the road and our mailbox from our office window.

Trimmed trees look better

Trimmed trees look better

We had a different company that was going to come last fall.  Two days before our scheduled time.  An early winter storm hit us with heavy winds, which caused a lot of damage.  No surprise when the didn’t show.  Two weeks later, just before I called to follow up with them, we were hit by an ice and snow storm.  Again, there was widespread tree damage.  Thousand of homes were without power.  The snow stayed the rest of the winter.

This year, we discovered another tree service that is located just three miles from here.  The owner is a nephew to our neighbor–the one who lives just across the road from us.  He gave us a good price and the guys did an excellent job.


This week on Tuesday, I had the one-year follow up to my cancer surgery.  The blood test shows no sign of cancer.  For that I am grateful.  It takes me about an hour drive to meet the surgeon (urologist) in his office.  He lives two miles from here.

Wednesday and Thursday we were hosts to some long-time (40 years) missionary friends.  Americo and Kathy are in the states on home ministry assignment.  We had a great time with them as we talked about the times we had together in Ecuador and of the things we’ve been doing since Sylvia and I returned to the states.

Poor Nellie disappeared from view for the duration of our guests’ visit.  After the “aliens” had departed, Nellie ventured out of the basement in search of some loving.

Our church’s annual Missions Conference is this weekend.  We’ll be very much involved in that and Sylvia will baking and cooking some items for that.  Our speakers are missionaries to Ecuador.  We’re looking forward to that.

Sometimes the world seems very small.