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.

What a Week


The change for our church Website went very smoothly.  I had done my homework, and there were no nasty surprises.  That was something to be thankful for.  Lots of tiny jobs have kept Sylvia and me hopping this week.

Yesterday, Thursday, was the high spot of the week.  Two of my sisters were here along with a brother-in-law.  (The other sister and her husband is in Florida.)  After lunch, we were getting to the end of a game of Scattergories when Bryant and Barbara (son and DiL) showed up.  Wow!  That was great.  We sat the game aside and spent the rest of the afternoon in pleasant conversation.  Okay, we did take time to eat some pie–chocolate or cherry-rhubarb.

After a light supper, Sylvia and I were watching Despicable Me 2.  The phone rang.  It was Briana (granddaughter).  That put the whipped topping on the chocolate pie.  She had just finished her twelve-hour shift and was walking home.  It had been the quietest day that anyone at the hospital could remember.  One person had been there over twenty years.  Briana had started her shift with only three patients and ended it with just one.

Today, the community celebrates Christmas Around Town.  Our church participates and Sylvia has been there since she finished her early breakfast.


Midnight  2009 - 2012

Midnight 2009 – 2012

Today, I find myself thinking about my little buddy.  This kind of day is one where I would get comfortable in the recliner and Midnight would cuddle up to me.  Then we’d both take a cat nap.  I’d like that right now.

What’s New?

Today, I awoke to this sight:


Yesterday, my world was green.  Our biological weather station (aka my body) was announcing an upcoming significant change in the weather.  Once again, it tells the truth.

Online, the weather-radar loop showed the winter storm headed our way as I went to bed.  For that reason, it was no surprise to see all the white stuff this morning.


The rate of snow fall increased as I was getting a couple of pix.  I retreated to the comfort of a warm house.

other news

Our freezer died recently.  We were able to save most of the contents.  Friends have been storing some of their household goods in our barn.  They graciously consented to let us borrow their freezer.  Thanks Bud and Karlene.

Wednesday evening, I asked my friend, Larry, if he knew where I could borrow an appliance dolly.  He said he had one.

Thursday afternoon, Larry and Ron showed up with the appliance dolly.  In hardly any time at all, those two had shifted the freezers around for me.

Monday morning, I plan to move our church blog to the root directory of our domain.  The Website will go away as the WordPress blog takes its place.  Info from the current Website now resides on blog pages.  I’ve been doing my homework to be ready for this upcoming change.

Last Year

I looked back a year ago to see what I was posting on this blog.  That’s when I discovered this post.  Here again for your enjoyment:

from 11/20/2014

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

Here’s a closer look:

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.

Keep Looking

Sunday morning, the sun is bright and the sky is clear.  Early-morning gunfire had announced the opening of deer season with firearms.  No, there was not a single deer in sight.  What would you expect?

Less than a week earlier, we had watched a four-point buck cross our lawn, turn and go back.  That was nice.  We don’t see many with antlers.  Most of those boys are very shy.

As I looked at the “woods,” I saw an interesting anachronism.  Maybe you’d call it a reverse anachronism.


Can you see the cross roads in this jungle?  Me neither.


It is mid-November.  For the most part, deciduous trees have dropped their leaves.  Does that leave your world looking drab?  Look again.

A wise person once noted that beauty is where you find it.  I’ll add that it is not hard to find.  It may try to disguise itself, but beauty can be found.  You have only to look.


Don’t forget to look where the light is a bit dim.  Perhaps behind some sort of cover.


Beauty may lurk behind a fence, or even beyond.  Hidden where you can’t quite focus.  It is out there.  You have to find it for yourself.


Sometimes, it appears with a seasonal type of feel.  (Okay this pushing it a bit early.)

Where do you see beauty?

Icy Blasts


Wednesday was a “get outside in work in your shirtsleeves” kind of day.  So that’s what Sylvia and I did.  We got a lot accomplished.

Then came Thursday, and with it came cold, rain and wind.  Heavy winds shook the corners of the house.  It was a day to curl up in a comfy chair with a good book.

In the past, we have purchased Thai soup.  It comes with all the dry ingredients in packets.  These are placed in a plastic soup bowl with a fistful of rice noodles.  I saved nutrition labels from a couple of these and noted the ingredients.  (Do you ever do that?)

We then reverse engineered the soup.  Our goal was something hot and spicy and a bit more to our liking.

Thursday for lunch, Sylvia made the first try.  It was great!  She had fried some bacon for the baked beans we would have that evening.  After pouring out the leftover fat, she poured water into the pan.  Into that went, onion, finely minced celery with leaves and carrot (pre-cooked in microwave).  Bits of bacon pieces went back into the soup pot, followed by curry powder and cumin to season.  She used very fine rice noodles, which she boiled and rinsed with cool water.  After the noodles went in the soup and came up to temperature, we ate it.  Every bit of it!

That evening, the baked beans were delightful.  That, however, is another story.  Perhaps for another day.

What’s That?

A rare event occurred this morning.  I was up and out of bed before 7:30 AM.  Sylvia was still sleeping.  I quietly came into the office and looked out the window.  Something was happening behind the barn.


I could see an unusual light in the field beyond.  What could it be?


Whatever it was, it was happening behind the south end of the barn.  Not only the field beyond, but the sky had taken on an unusual glow.


Silly old me.  It was sunrise, which is something I haven’t seen in some time.

With help from Sylvia, I’m moving my schedule ahead.  The goal is to be “early to bed and early to rise.”  I’m already feeling better.  I’ll not concern myself with other benefits.


Sincere thanks to those who have served, protected and defended our nation in uniform.  I was going to post a pic of my younger son in uniform.  Unfortunately in 22 years of service we have very few photos.  So here’s a salute to his paternal grandfather, my dad.

LeRoy in Uniform



Beauty of Morning

Wednesday morning, I sat at breakfast washing down eggs and toast with hot coffee.  I was enjoying the hot food, company of Sylvia and the bright sunshine of a November morning.  It was beautiful!  All of it.

I glanced out the window and liked what I saw.  Heavy rains and winds had stripped most trees of their leaves.  A few remained.

After breakfast, it was time to gather camera, tripod and then head out the door.  Could I capture an image of what my eye had seen?  I thought so.


Can you see my shadow waving “Good morning” to you?  This was the wide view that had caught my eye while I was at the breakfast table.

There were two parts of this scene that were of particular interest.  The first is top center.  The second is on the left.


It was that group of trees in the center whose leaves were still clinging to their branches that first caught my attention.  I like that “Never say die” attitude.  Doesn’t this image say “November?”  It’s almost deer season for firearms.  There are two hunters’ blinds in this photo.  One is nearly obscured by birch branches.


The second scene is neighbor Bob’s cattle grazing.  It’s a very common sight from our house, but it never ceases to fill me with a feeling of peace and of things being right.

I’m smiling and feeling good.  Hope you are too.

As October Ended

I had planned on sharing this image with you at the end of October.  That was overtaken by unfortunate events.

I stepped out the back door, camera in hand.  I wanted to capture an image of the autumnal evening, which was dominated by a cloud-obscured moon.  The mood was fitting for the season.


It felt good to step back inside.  There I was safe from the sights and sounds.  Safe from things that go “BUMP” in the night.

Time to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.