Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Getting Ready

I'm trying to get moving so things will be done when I leave. I had a horrible thought last week, when getting ready to go to daughter's, that I wouldn't have enough capris/trousers to take with me to England or shirts so today I went through my wardrobe and pulled things out and tried them on. I hate shopping for bottoms especially as they are either too short, the hips are too tight or the waist is too big. I had prepared myself to do some (horrible) last minute shopping, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have enough to take with me for the trip! I shall probably have to whittle down the pile as I probably won't need them all. I shall take more tops as I can be a little clumsy and don't want to be doing washing all the time. Mum has a washer but no dryer so things have to be put out on the washing line weather permitting.

I also got up in my craft room and did some sorting. There are a couple of small projects I'll be taking with me so that I have something to do in the evenings. I won't take too much as it is all extra weight and I'd probably end up not doing it. I also took care of some of the things I hadn't got around to putting away yet. I'm hoping to leave things at least a little organised while I'm gone.

I did take a walk in the morning. I saw a mother and two fawn down by the lake. They were all so cute. I did take a picture but - story of my life - I haven't sorted them yet. I also had a hair appointment.  Tomorrow there are a couple more projects on my list and son will be coming up to eat with us and say goodbye to me. We keep in touch via Facebook Messenger while I'm gone so it's not like I'll be totally out of communication.

Today's photo. This is one I took while we were on our camping trip up north. I really enjoyed waking up in the morning to see the sunrise with the slight mist over The Lake of the Clouds. It was such a beautiful sight.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Took a Little Time...

Thanks for the lovely comments about Shadow. I really appreciated them!

I took a mini-break from blogging. I wasn't in the mood to share anything but more thoughts of Shadow. I'm feeling a little better now though the house still seems strange without him.

On Thursday we drove to daughter's in Minnesota. It was only a quick trip - for the long holiday weekend here in the states. We went with MIL and FIL. It gave them a chance to meet daughter's boyfriend and see their new house. We had a lovely time. The huskies were pleased to see us and I got lots of cuddle time with Shasta.

The journey back was horrible. It took us a LOT longer than it usually does and the traffic was pretty bad. We made it back late. Poor hubby had to go straight to bed and get up for work in this morning. I'm sure he will be pretty tired when he gets home from work. He has a really early start in the mornings - 5am on Mondays.

It's going to be a busy week for me. I leave on Friday to go to England for six weeks to visit Mum. I can't wait!

I have the requisite washing to do today and cleaning then I'll be sorting some photos and checking out blogs. Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Shadow - our Cat

Firstly, I want to say thanks for all the wonderful, supportive comments on my last post. Reading them really helped. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Shadow yesterday. He was only getting worse and although I would have loved for him to stay it would have been selfish of me to keep him around just because I didn't want to say goodbye. He was getting weaker. Wednesday night he started to get a little shaky on his feet too. Husband called the vet yesterday morning and got an appointment for the afternoon. Although he wasn't feeling well we did have a few cuddles. He let me hold onto him as we watched birds out of the window and we did go into the garden for a while.

Husband and two sons went with him to the vet. He was an indoor cat and not used to going outside - in fact until the last couple of days he'd been terrified of it and would cling on like crazy if you tried to take him outside - and I was worried he wouldn't handle the little car trip very well. But son held him on a blanket and they said he barely meowed. I couldn't go. I couldn't do it. I was already in tears and I didn't want to stress him out. I think he was ready as they said he didn't struggle, just laid in arms as he was held. He's never been a scratcher or a biter but I was worried he was going to be in distress.

The vet checked him out. He had a tumour in his stomach. Vet says it happens sometimes with older cats. He would only get worse and be in pain. Husband and sons were with him while he went to sleep.

The house seems really empty without him. He had a bed in the living room and kitchen, both are now just blank spots and seem really empty. I keep thinking I hear him meowing. I'm just a little sad and tearful today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pets - How Do You Know It's Time to Let Go?

Not sure how to start this, but I know people out there can relate. Our cat, Shadow, is over 20 years old. He's had a really good, long life, but I think know he's coming to the end of it. I don't want him to suffer, but it's really difficult to say goodbye. I must admit that I'm struggling with it. 

My middle son was the one who wanted him, back when he was little and having some troubles. I wasn't even really a cat person. My only experience with cats was a kitten that scratched me (a lot) when I was little and my MIL's (sorry!) grouchy cat that didn't like me at all. Shadow decided I was his though and, over the years, I'm the one he always cuddled up to. I'm the one whose lap he sat on - I do have rather a fluffy lap. He misses me when I'm gone, meowing around the house looking for me. 

I keep going back and forth. Best for him. Selfish for me to want him to stay. Post doesn't really make sense, but oh well.

I don't take many selfies, but I was looking on my google photos for a quick pic of him and this popped up. I must have been messing around with the phone and took this.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Piles of Washing...

There always seem so much of it when we come back from anywhere! I'm almost caught up. I'm done for the day though. It will still be there tomorrow! I'm still without a car so I was home all day. I got most of the jobs done I wanted. The one I really wanted to get done was the first on my list - sorting all those pesky plastic containers. They seemed to have multiplied and then just started getting shoved in the cupboard without any sort of organisation. It was shove it in, close the door and hope they don't all fall out when you open the cupboard back up! Now at least they are in some sort of order - at least for a while.

I haven't got any books to photography today but I am happy to say that 23 books shall be leaving my house tomorrow! I relisted some Ebay auctions when we got back and two of them have already sold. So the books will be on their way to new homes. They are series I collected. I was a little up in the air as to whether I wanted to get rid of them, but now they are sold and I honestly won't miss them. I shall get more into the swing of sorting tomorrow or Wednesday.

I still haven't sorted through that many photos, but I did get to a couple of the yurt we stayed in on our second night. It was actually quite cosy, though warm enough that we didn't have to use the wood stove inside. We did have a campfire outside though.

It was down a little path away from the other campers (there was one other yurt before we reached ours) and there was a little path down to the rocky shore. It was really quite peaceful. I shall be looking to book this one again if we end up there.

As always, it's a little struggle getting back into things. There are things I need to get done though so no slacking! I have this full week here, next week on the 4th of July we're heading over to visit daughter in Minnesota for a long weekend. We come back on the Sunday and I leave for England on the Friday. Time is certainly slipping by!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Back from Camping

What a wonderful week it was! We spent the week camping the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There wasn't a raindrop in sight! How lucky was that? When I looked before we left most days looked iffy for rain and as late as Saturday night (the last time I could get phone service) Tuesday looked to be stormy and wet. There was absolutely nothing! The days were bright and sunny, the nights a little cool, but couldn't have asked for better. I shall have photos to share at a later date.

I can honestly say that I am really, really thankful to live in a place where there are flushable toilets and running water! For three of the days camping we were in a rustic cabin where we had to collect water from the lake and filter or boil before drinking and a stinky (extremely) outhouse. I know it was only three days but I was so pleased when we came across our first flushable loo that I could have cried. Very wimpy of me (but true). The walk to this rustic cabin was a steep decline (all with carrying bedding/food and supplies) of almost a mile. That also meant it was a steep climb back to the car afterward.

The views were amazing though. There was a rowboat and a canoe at the cabin. These are the only ones on the lake. Hubby rowed us out (I braved it as I'm not a fan of boats) to watch the sun set. So very lucky! My happy place was sitting in the boat when it was on shore and looking out onto the lake. It was so very peaceful and there were absolutely no distractions (obviously no electricity either). Hubby collected wood and built a small fire in the wood stove to heat the cabin before bedtime. I was a little creeped out as there were mice too (shudder) but I not only survived it, I enjoyed the time there. It was with a mixture of both happiness and sadness that we left it behind (would have gladly have stayed with the minimum of water and loo).

As I said I haven't sorted those photos yet, but I do have one of a place we stopped at

Apparently the name means The Big Spring and it is Michigan's largest natural spring. Husband remembers visiting it when he was younger (a lot!).  There is a raft/boat that it attached to a rope across the spring and you move the boat by turning a wheel (usually done by energetic kids!). The raft/boat had changed but not much else. In the middle of the raft there is an opening where you can see down into the lake and the huge fish jumping there. Fishing isn't allowed so they are huge! It was an interesting place to visit, the water so very clear. Pretty sure I wouldn't have minded drinking that water!

Now it's back to cleaning, sorting and washing the piles of smelly, dirty clothes lol. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


A while ago I wrote that I was a flower photography course. I can only say that I don't think it's really my thing. I know it would help if I took more of them, but I'm not really happy about the way they are turning out. Other people are sharing and their photos look fantastic and I look at mine and think...nope...I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, I like flowers. I can't grow them, don't generally buy them, but I like wandering around a garden looking at them. It's just when I go to photograph them it doesn't turn out quite like I think it should in my head. 

Last week the lesson was about Contrejour which is basically shooting into the sun. It would help if there was sunshine. Anytime I found flowers I thought would work the sun was in the wrong position. I'm hoping to try that one out while we're away. 

This week's lesson was finding the hero flower. I quite liked this lesson as it's something I tend to do anyway. Unfortunately I didn't really find one this week. While I was out looking I did find several things on flowers. 

A spider on a flower - rather long legs!

Raindrops on a flower (plenty of those around)

And even a bug!

This is sort of what a hero flower should look like. This is one I took last year while visiting Mum. A hero flower stands out against all the others. 

I haven't shared any of these in our Facebook 'classroom'. I keep repeating the motto of A Year with my Camera (the flower course is through the 'owner' of it Emma Davies who is mainly a flower photographer) which is 'The only photographer I will compare myself to is me'. I suppose if I look at the course that way I am learning something. I am getting outside my comfort zone and trying new things. I'm even learning something about myself. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Lovely Book

This is one I'm definitely not getting rid of! I really like this book.

It goes day-by-day through different seasonal plants and animals. I've learned quite a bit about the animals I see on my walks. I'm scheduling this post for the 17th so I thought I'd share a little from that day.

June 17th

Mallard Eggs Hatching

When Mallard ducklings hatch they are fully covered with down that dries in about twelve hours. At this point, they begin moving around in the nest and may even wander a few feet away, but for the most part their mother broods them until the family leaves the nest for the water. This departure usually takes place on the morning after they hatch. The mother leads them to water as she vocalises up to two hundred times a minute. 

I don't have any duckling photos to share, but the Starling babies in the garden are finally learning to feed on their own. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

I Packed my Bag and in it I put....

It's Friday and time to get ready for our trip tomorrow. I'm excited and anxious. I'm (mostly) packed and have some reading material (can't be without books!). I hope to take lots of photos. It will be nice to get away where there is no distraction around. It helps me clear my mind and maybe think about a few things. I always feel refreshed when I come back - though I really look forward to my bathroom and lovely bubble bath ;)

Today I got the washing done, food condensed into a box, packed, recharged batteries and tried to at least tidy a bit. I did manage to pull out a few books for donation so another bag has been started. I think these are for through Sunday. I'll have to sort extra when I get back. I realised there are a while lot more downstairs that I need to go through. Sigh.

I hope everyone has a great week. Keep your fingers crossed for sunshine or at least not a lot of rain (doesn't look good!). I'm hoping to schedule a couple of posts for in the week.

On another note I'm going to turn on Comment Moderation for a while. I hate to do it, but I won't be around and lately I seem to have gotten a lot of comments from unsavory characters advertising all sorts.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Another Rainy Day

Yup. It's raining again today. Sigh. Even the poor birds are looking drenched as they try to catch a little food. It's a good thing I'm staying inside today. I did have my car yesterday got quite a lot accomplished. I ended up taking two bags of books to the library for donation! I haven't taken my book photos for the last couple of days so will have to make up for it tomorrow. I suddenly realised that I hadn't blogged for a couple of days and want to keep up on things especially since we are going away all next week and I won't have access to a computer, or the internet or (for several days) even electricity. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to work except that I'm starting to panic that I won't have enough battery life for my camera. I suppose it shall all work out or I can just really appreciate the beauty around and not take so many photos.

Yes, we're off camping for the week next week. I'm half looking forward to it and half not. We're travelling up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - far up! I don't know exactly how to describe it except maybe wild, beautiful and isolated. I imagine it's the kind of place where you can wander and get lost or not see another person for a while. I'm hoping the weather at least sort of cooperates. There's always a chance of rain - especially as it's all we seem to be having lately - but I shall make the most of it. For four days/three nights we shall be staying in a rustic cabin on The Lake of the Clouds. It is a mile walk from where we can park the car and we have to carry everything in with us - sleeping bags, food, supplies. There is no running water. You have to collect water from the lake and boil or purify. There is only an outhouse of some kind (definitely not looking forward to this part of it!). The lake is amazing though.

This is one of the photos I took last year from the top of the lake. We'll be down beyond those woods lovely and isolated. There is a trail that goes across a small bridge down closest to the bottom of the photo where the lake narrows and I'm hoping we can walk there and get some down the lake photos. It truly is an amazing place.

It is certainly a time to get away from everything in the modern world. A nice break. Refreshing.

Tomorrow will be spent packing and making sure things are somewhat tidy when we leave. I shall have to decide what I'm going to take to read. Without electricity the Kindle shall have to be used sparingly lol but I don't want to carry more weight than I have to either. Decisions, decisions.