Wee Ones

Lately, we’ve been watching the twins and mom as they graze on the grass.

Sorry about the flare

Sorry about the flare

I forgot to get the camera lens against the window I was shooting through.  It was morning and the family was having breakfast.  I wanted to open the door and step onto the deck to capture this image, but there would be no critters if I’d done that.

Perhaps you’ll like this one better.

Mom and one of the twins look for better grass

Mom and one of the twins look for better grass

The youngsters are bursting with energy.  We often see them racing around the yard like the young ones frequently do.



A rose by any other name


Would still have thorns and try to prick you


But it would also be as beautiful and smell as sweet.

Unfortunately, our Joseph’s Coat rose died over the hard winter we just experienced.  There, however, remain strong and healthy.

Project Complete

The mud room connects our house and garage.  It was supported by several cedar posts in the ground.  The room had been slowly sinking, and after much thought we contacted a friend that does that kind of work.  We devised a plan and he got started with it.

Footings dug below frost line and poured

Footings dug below frost line and poured

By the end of the summer, the mud room was supported by a block foundation wall.  This year we hired a contractor to complete the job.

Preliminary work done final phase about to begin

Preliminary work done final phase about to begin

They replaced the bottom strip of siding and then covered below the siding with steel.

The final project except for planting grass and a few geraniums along the foundation wall

The final project except for planting grass and a few geraniums along the foundation wall

The steel extends well below the surface.  The theory is that it will discourage burrowing critters from trying to set up residence beneath the garage.  That brown powder on top of the dirt in the inside corner (center photo) is Critter Ridder, which should also help keep the pests away.

Focus now turns to the mud room interior.  We plan to paint, put linoleum squares on the floor and install mop board.

Father’s Day — Celebrated

On Sunday we had our friend Roy join us for dinner and conversation.  Roy is retired after 22 years with the US Air Force.  After that he worked for Motorola in the Phoenix area.  Several years ago, they moved back to Michigan.

Roy’s wife, daughter and a granddaughter have been traveling.  They went to visit the granddaughter’s sister who is completing a semester of study in England.  Then the four went on to the continent for some more experiences.  They’ve returned to Atlanta, then on to Phoenix for a family visit.  Then off to visit the daughter’s new home in California.  Roy’s wife returns on Saturday.

We had a fun afternoon at the table and in the easy chairs.  Sylvia even made us rhubarb pie to top off the celebration!  YEA!

That evening we talked with son, Scott on the phone for a couple of hours.  It was a great day.

Today, it was work around the house.  Workmen finished a project on the garage and mud room.  (More on that in another post.)

This evening, we met son, Bryant and his wife Barbara and drove into downtown Grand Rapids.  We ate at San Chez a Tapas Bistro.  I love authentic Spanish cuisine, and that’s what we had.  Magnificent.  The place is very nice.

They made the evening super special for Sylvia and me.  I’d be please to pay a return visit.  I think you’d like it too.

Thanks Bryant and Barbara, we love you and are so very proud of you both.

It Was a First

Until this morning I had never seen a red-winged blackbird nest.  I knew where they nested.  It’s hard to miss that.  But I had never actually seen a nest.

On Saturday I had trimmed some trees and tossed the trimmings into the trailer.  I didn’t take them down to the brush pile.  The neighbor had cut the area, which I had to cross and I didn’t want to drive across the hay.  He baled it later that day.

This morning I took the brush to the brush pile.  As I was leaving I looked beside the trampled grass and saw a small willow tree and in it a nest.

Red-winged black bird nest surrounded by tall grass

Red-winged black bird nest surrounded by tall grass

Can you see it in the middle of the shot?  I returned with the camera and watched the mother fly up to the power line where she gave me the stink eye.

Three eggs in the nest.

Three eggs in the nest.

I wasted no time getting a shot of the nest contents–three large eggs.  Then I beat a hasty retreat to leave mother to her duties.

Thinking of Briana

Internship - Day One

Internship – Day One

I’m thinking of our granddaughter today.  This is day two of her summer internship.  Only six months to graduation and the BSN degree.

We’re button-popping proud of our gal.  She looks like a twelve-hour shift takes its toll.

I’m just glad I don’t have to do that.

The Traveler Returns (repost)

This is a re-post of a story that ran on this bog in March of 2009.  I just wanted to share it with you today.

Last Saturday, was the big day. Sylvia awoke at 4:00 AM in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The construction project was finished for her. The day at the beach was over. Today, she was going home. It was an early start, but before long the flight for Houston, Texas pushed back from the gate. Her journey had begun.

Chuck didn’t get get up that early. The lazy fellow waited until the sun was up. Then he dressed, went out to the barn and fed the cats. The bird feeder was empty, so he filled it with sunflower seeds. Orange juice in the glass and coffee starting to brew, he went into the office to check for new e-mail. Already there were blog comments to approve.

He kept himself busy the rest of the day. She’s coming home. Try not to think about it too much. (Ha!) Lots to do and keep moving. The game plan was simple get tired. Go to bed early. When she gets home be ready to greet and to talk.

Sylvia’s plane makes its way to Houston. There is a seven hour layover. Not fun! Read. Work sudoku puzzles. Walk. Get a bite to eat. Only a little, the funds are mostly gone. (After eating a modest meal, she has $1.50 left. It had cost more to leave Honduras than she had been told.)

The time drags on. And on. And on. It should be time for boarding the flight to Detroit. Oh no. There is an equipment problem. More than an extra hour drags on before they finally are able to depart. The pilot makes up some of that time by flying a bit faster than normal.

Chuck has kept busy all day, and after a quick surfing trip across the blogosphere, he goes to bed early. Remember, the plan is to be there for Sylvia when she arrives to greet her and to talk with her.

In Detroit Sylvia retrieves her bags and meets the friends that will drive her the two hours to Sunfield where her car is waiting for her. She finds it there and has to scrape frost off the windows. A big change from the 90 degree temps she has just left. It takes Sylvia about 20 minutes to drive from Sunfield past the silent town of Lake Odessa and to her home in the country. It is nearly 3 AM as she quietly enters the house. She walks on tip-toes into the bedroom. It has been a long day. She is tired.

I (Chuck) am sleeping on my side facing the door. I open one eye and say, “Oh, it’s you.” (I can be so clever at that time of day.)

She replies, “Who else would it be?” (Two can play that game.)

I hear her briefly at the bathroom sink and then I feel her lay down on the opposite side of the king-sized bed.

She sighs, “Aaahh . . . This feels good.” Soon she is breathing regularly. Sound asleep.

I start to count her breaths, one, two . . .

The sun came up.

Bird Week?

Unrelated to story, but impressive bird

Unrelated to story, but impressive bird

My good friend, Vanilla, has declared this bird week.  I’m glad to see that, because it gives me a reason to relate a teeny-tiny tale.

There was a dead critter behind our barn earlier this week.  I know that, because I could see the vultures circling and descending.  That means only one thing — dead meat.

As I glanced out the window toward the barn, a turkey buzzard sailed right over my head as he glided toward the barn and beyond.  Sitting on his left wing was a small bird, who seemed to be going along for the ride.

With one long stretch I could have reached the camera.  What use?  I would have only missed that transient vision.  Vanilla was able to capture an image of his big yellow bird.  I knew I’d not get such a shot.  So I just enjoyed the view.

I guess life is like that.  Some times it’s better to just enjoy it and not worry about documenting and archiving it.  Or am I wrong?


Crab apple in bloom

Crab apple in bloom

One of my favorite [make believe] songs is, When it’s apple blossom time in Michigan, we’ll make a peach of a pair.  I enjoy “singing” the words for Sylvia.  She laughs when I do, and to me there is no sweeter sound in all the world than her laughter.

Conditions have been incredibly good for growing grass this year.  Which probably explains why I was unable to mow the lawn for two weeks.  People were beginning to wonder why there wasn’t a FOR SALE sign in front of our place.  It’s nearly time to mow again.  Please excuse my lack of enthusiasm.

The garden is in and the old folk are tired.  Well, it is almost in.  A few items need to be taken care of, but it will be okay.

Eye of the Bee Holder

Beauty or Beastly?

Beauty or Beastly?

Warm weather is here.  And I’m enjoying it! :frolic:

Sylvia is working in the flower gardens and I’ve just treated key areas near the house and garage with Critter Ridder.  I’ve been trying to discourage the burrowing bad boys from digging in those places.  I’m hoping this works and that I’m able to seal those places permanently.  Time will tell . . .