Roses in November

Who have thought it?  Yesterday Sylvia picked a double handful of raspberries.  (Yes, they were very tasty.)  That is probably even more surprising than roses in November.

Roses still bloom as November is here

Yesterday, we spent some time draining garden hoses and preparing garden spaces for winter.  Despite all that, some us don’t want summer to end.  That includes this beauty:

And it still looks so fresh

And out in the yard there are other blossoms.  Like this one:

A touch of color in the grass

The tractor is still in the shop.  The corn harvest is going full tilt around here and equipment will break.  The agricultural equipment has a higher priority.  That’s okay with me.  It’s a family’s income and it’s our food that should be more important than me being able to finally till my garden space for next year.  Nevertheless, it is frustrating that it has been over a month since I’ve had the use of my tractor for more than a couple of hours.

Rain is forecast for the next couple of days. Hopefully, that will allow the mechanics to finish work on my tractor.  We’ll see . . .


Several of you answer the comments on your blogs with your own comments.  I have not been doing that.  I’m going to try to follow the example of my good friends that do.

He Soars on High

A couple of weeks ago, I was returning from a trip to the mail box.  As I walked back up the driveway, something to the left caught my eye.  It was a large turkey buzzard.  He was just taking off from the ground–less than a half-mile away.  As I watched his wings flapped a few times as he rose quickly upward.  There was a stiff breeze from the west, which seemed to aid his ascent.  He made two large spirals through the air.  By now he had risen at least 200 feet above the ground.

As I stood still watching this aeronautical wonder, he began to drift toward me.  Quartering to the wind he continued to rise.  As he neared, I had my camera ready.  By now he was very high, but I took this picture anyway.  Can you see him?

If you look closely you can see him below the black bottomed cloud and above and slightly left of the tower.  It was amazing how high he had risen and how rapidly that had happened.  Here’s a closer look.

I enjoy watching these members of the local cleaning crew as they patrol our neighborhood.  Soon they’ll be leaving us as they fly south for the winter.

I’ll be watching for them come spring when they return to their rounds in this area.  Now if I can get a shot of the goshawk this winter.  I see him, but I’ve yet to capture an image.

Tumbled Down

Tumbled Down
See the young man,

    Proud of his strength.
Wooed his first love,
   Took her for wife.

Built her a house,
   To call their home.
Love did not last,
   When Passion cooled.

He found others,
   And alcohol.
The anger grew,
   It could not last.

Divorce?  Never!
   They’d live apart.
Another house,
   He built for her.

Across the road,
   The houses stood.
And now they’re gone,
   The fighting o’er.

Beneath the sod,
   Bodies turned dust.
The two houses,
   Have tumbled down.

Sightings ~ Big Birds

One of the nicer benefits of living in the country is the abundance of wildlife that surrounds us.  (For city dwellers wild life comprises two words and has a different meaning.)  Deer, turkey, fox, raccoon, opossum, just keep your eyes open and you’ll see them all.  And more bird species than you can count on your fingers and toes.  Some of them are very people friendly–like the house finch.  Others are very shy–like the short eared owl.  Turkeys, herons and cranes are very common in this neighborhood.

Sunday afternoon, Sylvia and I walked out of the house and we saw an unusual sight in our neighbor’s back yard.  It was a bald eagle on the ground behind my neighbor’s house.  When the eagle saw us it immediately took to the wing and quickly flew away.  This wasn’t the first or second time that we’ve seen a bald eagle in this neighborhood, but it’s still an awesome sight.  Sad to say, the camera was in the house, so I had to borrow the above image.

The bald eagle is not as large as the golden eagle that I saw a couple of years ago.  Nevertheless, it elicits a special feeling of excitement.

Monday afternoon, I went out to get the mail.  It was too nice a day to walk straight down the driveway to the mailbox.  For that reason, I decided to walk the outer perimeter of our place.  (Makes for a nice walk.)  I walked by the garden to see how the tomatoes, green beans, peppers and squash are growing.  (They are doing very well!)  As I reached the corner of the mowed part near Meghan’s barn, I noticed a turkey vulture flying toward a dead tree.  Again no camera so I borrowed another image.

As soon as my focus shifted from the milkweed that I was looking at to that dead tree, I saw a second vulture already perched in that tree.  The newcomer approached and put his claws on a branch and “crack” the dead branch broke and fell to the ground.  With barely a bobble the latest arrival found solid footing.  I watched for several minutes and then one of the vultures flew away closely followed by the other.

I continued my extra long walk to the mailbox feeling very glad that I took that detour.  Do you ever go out of your way and walk that extra distance?

Thursday Visitors

Last Thursday was a busy day.  I had just finished my morning coffee and as I rinsed out the cup, I looked out the window.  There were a couple of visitors lounging on the front lawn.

Sylvia and I have seen these youngsters a few times this year.  This was my first chance to capture an image.  As I approached the window, camera in hand, they saw me and decided to move.

At first they moved slowly as they continued to enjoy chewing on the tall grass.  (I mowed the next day.)

Then they moved a little faster toward the shelter of the pines.

Soon they had reached sanctuary, and they disappeared into the trees beside the corn field.  I finished rinsing my coffee cup and went back to the project at hand.  It had been a very good morning.

My World ~ Looking Up at Clouds

It was May 27 of this year, and I was going to go out and mow the lawn.  I stepped out of the front door to check the sky.  What I saw inspired me to go back in the house for the camera.  Here’s why:

I liked the look of those friendly fair-weather clouds.  I slipped the camera in my pocket and began my job.

Yes, it was going to be a great day.  Warm weather and a nice breeze.  What a perfect day for working outside.  It is not unusual to see contrails overhead.  We are under a major air-traffic route.  But it was time to get going.  Later, I was engrossed in mowing when I noticed the change in the clouds.

The clouds appeared as delicate brush strokes across the sky.  Don’t you love the dark blue of the sky?  All of these images are as they were captured by the camera.  I only re-sized them for faster downloading.  Soon the sky changed again.

Clouds had given way to clear skies overhead.  (You can still see a few wispy clouds on the left.)  It was neat how the contrails ended (or began) so abruptly.  I had a few swallows of water from the bottle I had with me.  This provided an excellent excuse to just relax and enjoy the scenery for a few minutes.  Then back to work.

My World ~ Road Work

With the arrival of March, the weather has improved.  From the first of the month the thermometer has climbed above freezing each day.  For the last week, the thermometer has not dipped below freezing.  Good news, right?  Not necessarily.  When you live on a dirt road, winter and freezing temps are good.  The ground freezes, and your car tires don’t fling mud onto your vehicle.

We had lot of snow covering the ground until last week.  Not only did the temperatures rise, but the rain fell.  The result was lots of water — everywhere.  The frost deeper in the ground hasn’t melted yet, so the water must move mostly horizontally.  It can’t sink into the frozen ground.  That leaves a layer of mud.

That’s the way it looked yesterday in front of our house.  Hard to believe that last week you could see no green — only white.

Sunday, I drove to the bottom of the drive and turned right (north).  I was going to church.  What I found in front of our house was the worst mud holes I’ve seen in 10 years of living here.  I wasn’t sure I’d get through, but I did.

Like the magi in the Christmas story, I returned home by another way.  The road to the south is in much better condition at least as far as the paved road.

Today, the county road crew was out working on our road.

The road truck is approaching one of the worst spots.  The driver was grading (scraping) the road and dropping more gravel.  There should be no problem getting out now.  There will be a problem keeping the car clean.  On second thought, forget about that.  It’s impossible to keep you car clean if you live here.

Here the truck is going back south as it passes in front of our driveway.  When I feel frustrated by our road, I think about how much better it is than if we lived on the paved road.  That’s where most of the cars go.  And they fly by.  Here they go at a more leisurely pace, and that’s the way I prefer to live.  How about you?

Sunrise in Late Winter

Yesterday, the sunrise rose on a fog shrouded world.  The fog was clearing as I came into the office and looked out upon this scene:

The sun shone weakly over the barn and through the fog. I had to see what a little bit of touch up could do to the photo, so I did this:

I’m not sure it’s an improvement.  What do you think?

The fog comes as moisture from the snow banks sublimates directly into the warm air in the form of water vapor.  Around here, it’s a sign that winter is coming to an end.  Many of our winter days are characterized by lead-gray skies.  We may go for days — or even weeks without seeing the sun.

This week started with warmer air and bright sunshine. The rising sun, which is hidden behind the garage in this view from my bedroom window, was a welcome sight.

There was an air boundary that ran almost overhead.  To the east airplanes were leaving contrails across the sky.  The contrails ended (or began) abruptly at the boundary.  You can see how much more snow there is — particularly in front of the barn.

Speaking of airplanes, I’ll be taking Sylvia to the airport early this morning.  She’ll meet one of her sisters there, and together they will board a plane and fly to Florida where they will see their other two sisters and dad.  So Midnight and I will be batching it for a week.

Rains have started and our road is a muddy mess.  Actually, rain is necessary.  It only takes warmer temperatures to thaw the icy ground.  But that’s another story.  Perhaps for next week.


I drove through thick fog to take Sylvia to the airport this morning.  Fortunately, the fog cleared as we got closer to town and the airport.  The recliner received me upon return, and a two-hour nap followed.  Midnight spent quite a bit of time on my lap.  We were both grateful for the companionship.  And to my friend who asked, “No, we will not be pigging out on kitty treats straight from the bag.”  Kitties don’t “pig out.”  It’s beneath their feline dignity, which must be maintained at all costs.  But then, you know that already.

My World ~ Snow Day!

Last week, we had a big snow storm. It started Tuesday afternoon and continued into Wednesday. Tuesday ended with Sylvia’s car stuck at the bottom of the drive. It was off the road, so that was a problem that could wait until Wednesday. And the sun came up that Wednesday morning.

The snow was not terribly deep at the top of the drive as I looked out the window. How would it be elsewhere?

As I expected there was drifting on the slope. Yes, the driveway is under all that snow. The fun would be removing the snow.

The drifting created some interesting patterns. The white dots are snow flakes. The white stuff hadn’t yet stopped falling. (This is the only photo that I processed. Increased the contrast a bit.)

Looking down from the office window I could see snow collected on the burning bush and a snow drift.

Shifting my camera upward, I could see more snow in the trees. That’s the back side of an Internet satellite dish. I canceled the service several years ago — it was expensive and not very reliable. Now I use terrestrial wireless (Wi-Fi) to connect.

You can see the blue sky and a strong shadow from the power pole and transformer. The snow was ending and soon I would go out and begin snow removal operations. That, however, is another story.

My World ~ Family Reunion

Last Friday, Sylvia’s father hosted a family reunion. All five of his children were there with three of their spouses. It was a wonderful time and we were able to visit with some folk that we haven’t seen in many years.

Gay (sis), Bruce (bro), Leon (Dad), Al, Karen (sis), Chuck, Sylvia, Paul and Joyce (sis)

Sylvia’s dad was the youngest of four brothers and the only one still living. The widow of his next older brother is still with us, and Aunt Dorothy was able to be with us that day.

These are the direct descendants of Leon and his brothers that were able to be present for our reunion near St Johns, Michigan. We had fun sharing memories and family stories. There was lots of good food when it was time to eat.

Leon’s grandfather came to St Johns, Michigan from the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada in 1865. The Civil War had taken a terrible toll, and that meant that there was good farm land land available in Michigan. Indeed, the farm land around St Johns is particularly rich and is mostly flat, which means excellent for farming.

Like American families will do, some (like Leon) have stayed in the area. Others have moved on to other places. We had folks at the reunion from Alabama and Florida. Sylvia’s sister, Gay (Gaylynn), surprised us by flying in from Florida. That delighted all of us.

I  learned more about Leon’s great grandfather coming to America. It’s an interesting story, and I’ll share that with you in another post.