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.

Fall Has Fallen

Do you remember this scene from an early post here on Secondary Roads?


A couple of weeks went by, and the scene had changed.


Makes me feel a bit sad.  As if earth is mourning the passing of Sylvia’s father.

At Dad Harris’ funeral, I could clearly see what his great grandchildren are becoming.  The young men, there were a number of them, are all tall, handsome and strong.  The one exception was a baby great grandson.  Briana was the only great granddaughter present.  If you read this blog you know what she is like.  All of the great grands are doing well in careers or in school.

While Dad’s time has past, there are other generations that are taking up the mantle.  I could feel sad about the past . . . even the present.  In spring, life returns.  The cycle goes on.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Autumnal Cheer

In the rush and scurry of this past week, I was unable to post a couple of images and stories.  I’d like to share one with you today.


Looks like we’ll be enjoying butternut squash for the next year.  Our garden came through for us once again.  Sylvia will bake these and then, when they are cool, she’ll scoop out the squash and divide them into meal-size portion, putting them in plastics bags.  We’ll form them flat in the bags, stack them on a tray and pop them into the freezer.

We had some problems with bags “gripping” onto the wires that constitute the freezer shelves.  The tray keeps them in perfect shape.  Once the food is frozen, we remove the tray.

In the garden, there are blossoms on the peas.  However, there is only one pod and that is not developing.  I was hoping to pick peas in November.  Hmmm . . .  Maybe if I plant them indoors.  The walk-out end of the basement gets plenty of light, and it’s cool.  Not sure if the days are long enough for their health.

Looks like a second touch of Indian summer this week.  That’s very nice.

Moving On

It has been a busy week.  Sunday, the family made funeral arrangements for Dad.  Monday was a time of preparation, with each doing their part.  Tuesday afternoon and evening was visitation with many folks coming to pay respects.

Wednesday (yesterday), was the funeral and burial.  Weather was cold and rainy, and because of that weather, we held the committal service at the funeral home.  The rain abated just enough to allow the family to have a brief time of prayer graveside.

As we went back to our cars, the rain began to fall again.  We went to a restaurant where a simple buffet luncheon had been prepared for the [large] family.

Sylvia and I were particularly pleased that Briana was in Michigan to celebrate her mother’s birthday.  That meant that she was with us on that day.  As is the family tradition, they took photos after the meal.

Chuck, Sylvia, Briana, Barbara and Bryant -- courtesy Barbara Hutchinson

Chuck, Sylvia, Briana, Barbara and Bryant     — courtesy Barbara Hutchinson

Sylvia is with her sisters and brother as they are organizing and wrapping up their father’s affairs.  They’ll be working on that until Saturday, when the siblings will return to their respective homes.

Blog Woes Over

While responding to comments on my previous post, I took time to reinstall the latest WordPress update.  That solved my problem with posting from this computer.

Sylvia’s Father

We received the call Saturday evening.  When we saw Sylvia’s sister’s name on the caller ID at nearly 10 PM, we were concerned.

Leon Nelson Harris

The news was that Dad had passed away very quickly without pain and without suffering.  We’ve been living in a whirlwind since then.

Here is his obituary:

Leon Nelson Harris

Leon Nelson Harris of St. Johns died at home on October 24, 2015 at the age of 98. Born September 7, 1917 to Floyd and Mary (Pate) Harris, Leon worked as a Salesman. In 1939 he married Elouise Irving in Detroit and she preceded him in death in 2001. Leon was an avid reader, enjoyed playing the accordion, and loved to travel. He lived in California, New York, Texas and Florida, yet spent most of his life in the St. Johns area. Leon was a member of Unity Congregations of Lansing and Fellowship for Today. Most of all, he loved family and appreciated their help. He greeted everyday happy to be alive.

Surviving are his children; Joyce (Paul) Blakeslee of DeWitt, MI, Karen (Al) Peterson of Tustin, MI, Sylvia (Charles) Hutchinson of Lake Odessa, MI, Bruce Harris of LeRoy, MI, and Gaylynn (Dale) Isenhoff of Orange Park, FL; 11 grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren. Along with his wife, Elouise, Leon was preceded in death by his parents and daughter-in-law, Jean Harris.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at Osgood Funeral Home, 104 E. Cass St., St. Johns, MI with Charles Hutchinson officiating. Burial will follow at South Bingham Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2-4 and 6-8 PM Tuesday, October 27th at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Leon’s name to the charity of the donor’s choice.

I have no further words to share at this point.  I’ll not be coming back to this blog for at least a couple of days.

Here’s one of the family’s favorite memories of Dad and Mom before they were married:

The year was 1934

The year was 1934

More Woes


This is the second day that I have been unable to post from my main computer.  I gave up and logged in from Linux machine.  Hey!  This works.


Our pea plants are still blooming.  Okay,  I recently reported that.  The good news is that they are setting pods.


Here are two pods.  Is there still time for peas to form inside those pods?  That’s what I’ll be waiting to discover.  I’ll let you know.

More Good News

Visited my urologist yesterday.  Recent lab test shows that after two years, I’m still cancer free.  We’ll have to continue monitoring the situation.

Also visited the chiropactor after returning home.  After an adjustment.  The severe back pain I had from deck work (lots of stooping and bending) is now gone.

They need to find a cure for arthritis.  Is that too much to ask?

Rainy Day Blues


Monday, Sylvia sealed the smaller deck at the end of the house.  The forecast was looking good for another nice day on Tuesday.

Sylvia cancelled her customary visit with her dad on Tuesday.  She started sealing the front (larger deck).  I had tightened up nails on Monday and was keeping an eye on the weather and the weather radar loop.  There was rain, but it was all north of us.  Then another front appeared on the radar.  It looked like it might slip just south of us.

It didn’t.  Sylvia was not a happy camper.  The rain continued, heavy at times, that evening and overnight.  We’re hoping for some warm weather after the front deck gets dry again.

Computer Woes

My last few weeks have been defined by computer woes.  Even this morning, it took several tries and a software update to create this post.  You may know this feeling.


The recent round of woes began when I started exploring the possibilities of a divorce.  (Not from my lovely wife–that would be incredibly stupid.  How could I live without her?)  I’d like to part ways with MS and Windows.

Many of us were unhappy with MS dropping support for XP.  We went to Win 7 because of the reports about Win 8.  We were just over the hump in the learning curve when Win 10 was announced.  Some of you opted for the free upgrade.  And you went back after myriad problems.

I’ve decided not to go there.  There must be a better way.  Right?

Linux has been around for some time, but is there software available?  Yes, there are programs for most of our needs.

Linux comes in various “flavors.”  Son, Scott, was also looking into the same possibility.  We decided that Manjaro was the Linux version to use.  I looked into computers that I had at hand to use for a test bed.  Sylvia’s former (XP) computer had the hardware that would play well with the new OS.

Seven times, I tried to download the disk image for Manjaro.  Seven times, the download was corrupt.  While this was going on, the test computer died.  Aargh!

It was time for a day (or so) off.  That helped.

My former XP computer is newer than the recently departed test machine.  The processor has a 64-bit instruction set.  (It’s much faster)  Should have started here.

The 64-bit version of Manjaro, is now installed.  This is the “xfce” version, which means that the web browser, e-mail client, office suite and more were installed with the operating system.  It is working well.  I’ve just begun to test, however.

Is that victory that I sense?  Here’s hoping.


Yesterday on the way to church, Sylvia and I were treated to a beautiful scene.  About a half-mile north there is a bean field with woods beyond.  I found myself wishing I had brought the camera.  It was at home.

I decided to go back this morning, if the light was right.  It was!  Here’s the first shot.


It was immediately apparent that I arrived too early.  So back home to breakfast and a check of the e-mail inbox.  About an hour later, it was time to try again.


Notice the difference in light on the beans and shadows in the woods.  This is a different angle, as you can plainly see.  I like that old barn roof that provides some shelter.


This is my favorite shot of the morning.  The round bale is bean stalks.  Have you noticed the hunter’s blind just into the woods?  It’s in all the pictures.


I included this final image to illustrate two concepts.  Those being, light and contrast.  From this angle the sunlight is not at a good angle–too far to the left.  The image looks duller.  I almost gave this a miss, but I wanted to show the contrast of the yellow clay, black loam, green hay field and the autumn woods.

This is just one more reason why we love this neighborhood.  The main reason, however, is the kind of folks we have for neighbors.  They don’t come any better than these.

Color Tour Pt3

I hadn’t planned on making this photo essay a three-part project.  After capturing the image of maple leaves (in yesterday’s post), I headed for the warmth of the house.  With one hand on the door, I looked to my right.  My hand let go of the door.  As it closed, I walked to the deck railing and set up the tripod.

It was in Sylvia’s flower garden (actually one of three).  I thought you too might enjoy these autumnal colors.


Light was weak in this patch of pink.  Full light here comes in the mid afternoon.  Rain had fallen that morning and you can see (not easily) drops on a few leaves.


A darker purple in this patch.  Also much stronger light.  Moisture shows better in this image.  Grasses in the background are good collectors.

Finally, I’ll wrap this tour with my favorite shot from the flower garden.


I was going to present a wider view.  When I resized, the moisture disappeared.  For that reason, I cropped the scene while keeping the red, green, white color contrast.