Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rained Out!

What a weekend it's been! Yesterday when I woke up we had no television, no internet and no land line phone. Normally I wouldn't care so much (though I admit to missing at least the internet!) but Saturdays are my day to Skype with Mum. I couldn't ring her (the only reason I have the landline) as we don't have international calling on our mobile phones and, although I could send an email from my phone, I wasn't sure she would read it. We have different phone plans and lucky my hubby has unlimited data so I downloaded Skype on his phone and managed to talk with Mum! Phew.

Sunday is our normal day for walking. We set off in the car in the rain hoping we could get above the rain but unfortunately it followed us. We only managed a mile and a half as we were absolutely drenched.

We stopped at the Block House which is in Muskegon State Park. There's a great view from the top of the hill. I imagine on a clear day you can see for miles. Today, not so much. Quite windy too! Apparently the original building was built in the 1930s by federally funded workers in a make-work project during the great depression. In 1962 it was vandalised and burnt down and was rebuilt in 1964. 

Not sure if this was a part that was burnt down.

Our little walk was very hilly considering it was supposed to be an easy walk. I think we might have got on the wrong path!

I did see a group of four deer but I wasn't quick enough to snap a photo! The park was pretty deserted this week. We saw a group of about five people looking for Morel mushrooms.

This was the only fungus I saw! I think we'll be back and try the walk again but not for a couple of weeks. Next weekend we're off to visit daughter in Minnesota.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Five on Friday - and a Muskrat

I'm joining in with Tricky over at FAST - Family Attempting to Survive the Times for Five on Friday. I can't believe another month has almost past. May Day/Beltane will soon be here. It brings back memories of dancing around the maypole. It was the one time of year at Primary School when we were allowed to go up this really big hill near our playground. I was really disappointed later on to discover it was barely a hill at all!

Even now I love this time of year. Things are finally beginning to grow here in Michigan. It feels like after the long winter everything is renewed again and earth comes alive after a long hibernation. I find myself rediscovering all the little things that bring me joy again. It's a time when the weather begins to warm and the days are gradually getting longer. We spend more time outside before it gets too hot. We've enjoyed a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures in the last week or so but that seems to be over - for now - the next few days are supposed to bring rain. My Mum always says it's changeable at the end of one month and the beginning of another.

For this Five on Friday I'm going to share five things from my walks this week and the things I've seen springing up and and the animals out and about.

These tiny flowers are actually from my garden. They are the first signs of spring I see.

A walk in the woods, such a peaceful place. Green is finally springing up everywhere! Just waiting for the trees for finish budding!

A variety of birds out enjoying the sunshine. It's wonderful listening to their chorus as they honk out warnings or call to one another. As I walk along some of them seem to let the others know a stranger is coming into their midst.

A chipmunk out and about. These little creatures are so speedy and can be quite noisy! Most of the time all I see is a little flash and a chirp and they are gone.

This has to be my favourite of the week! I wasn't even sure what it was as I haven't seen one before. The bird chirping a warning was what caught my attention. I started to take a photo of the bird and this creature caught my eye. I had to text a photo to my husband to ask what it was. A Muskrat, was his answer. Apparently they are rodent like creatures that live in the wetlands. 

Hopefully the rain won't last for days and days and I'll be able to get back out and about again soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday

It's been a couple of weeks since I've shared my desk with the group over at Stamping Ground for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday so I thought I'd join in this week and go do some desk hopping.

I really haven't been crafting too much. My mojo seems to have gone on holiday now that the weather is getting warmer. I have bee out and about doing some lovely walks with hubby.

I did make a couple of cards and a bookmark yesterday that you can see on my desk. One card and a bookmark are popped up on mini-easels out of the way waiting for me to take them into better light for photographing. They are using the papers that were on my desk the last time I joined. There's a big mess to the left that you can't see lol. It's a stack of papers and stamps that I was playing with. To the right is another mess that you can't see that includes pages to make a mini album using some photos I've taken over the last few weeks.

Well I'm off to pop around a few desks before I start my day!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top of the world....

We went on a lovely walk on Sunday. It was a 5 mile loop around the Muskegon State Park. Our walk took us through woods, up hills and above Lake Michigan on top of the sand dunes. The walk was pretty tough in places - thank goodness for hiking sticks - but the views were well worth the trek! We did well getting the difficult part of the loop over first.

There was a lovely bench placed right at the top of the ridge. We were almost at the edge of the dune and looking over. Fantastic view!

You can see the lighthouses in the distance. They are on the other side of the channel. It took us 30 minutes to drive to them!

Lots and lots of sand dunes.

And a steady, up and down, walk along a local lake back to the car park. There's another, easier loop in this park that we plan to do next Sunday if the weather is good.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Another Lazy Saturday

We did go for a quick walk this morning, probably about two and a half miles. Tomorrow we'll be off on a longer walk. Skyped Mum and had a good chat. The rest of the afternoon will be quite lazy. Hubby and son are off to hubby's friend and won't be back until later so the house is empty. I did pop outside trying out a different lens with some of the things I've learned doing A Year with my Camera.

Dandelions are popping up all over the garden. Soon it will be time to cut the grass.

Some tiny flowers making an appearance.

I did actually make it up to my craft room yesterday. I cleaned up some of the desk and pulled out a couple of cards to work on. I haven't felt like making any lately but yesterday seemed better.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are and you have an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Halfway through the week

I can't believe it's Wednesday already! Time seems to be flying by. I don't seem much in the crafty mood lately - just doing a bit of knitting in the evenings. I've been busy sorting. I think that maybe the warmer weather just makes me want to have a clear out. I'm working on my clothes today. I've been (gulp!) putting away some of my winter jumpers and exchanging them with tee shirts. I've kept a few jumpers out because this is Michigan afterall and Spring is changeable.

Yes, Spring. It is finally here!

Lots of these birds in the trees when I went for my walk. They were chirping up quite a chorus!

And blossom on the trees! It's lovely to see the leaves again.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sunday Walk

It was raining when we started out yesterday, but the park we were going to was over a couple of hours drive away so we headed out anyway. We drove through drizzle then full out rain that ended in a heavy fog. By the time we arrived at Ludington State Park only the fog remained. You could see a little blue sky through the fog so we decided it would probably burn off as the temperature heated up a little. We've been to Ludington State Park a couple of times before but we've only ever done the walk to the Lighthouse. It's one of my favourite lighthouses. HERE are some photos from one of those trips.

This time we went on a walk around the lakes - Lost Lake and Hamlin lake. It was really, really beautiful. This has to be one of my favourite walks so far. The shores of the lakes are just beautiful. The walk through the woods really stunning. It was an easy walk until we reached the Ridge Walk and then it was up, up and up some more! Well worth it though. Here are a few photos.

We're camping there for a night in September after I get back from England though I'm sure we'll make another trip up before then. We did stop by Lake Michigan (as it is in the park too).

The snow/sand drifting fences were still up

But they were starting to get ready for the summer season! I bet it won't be long until the barriers are removed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A cautionary tale...with five photos

I'm joining in with Tricky over at FAST - homesteading blog for another Five on Friday.

Since making the decision about a year and a half ago for me to stop working hubby and I made a commitment to spend more time together. He wanted to go camping and hiking and I was more than willing (well, a little apprehensive) to give it a try. Turns out I love camping and we have several trips planned this year. As for the hiking, I've always enjoyed walking. It's the one exercise I do like. Now that I'm not working on Sundays it's our day to go. We've gone on many walks, including over the winter when it was bitterly cold outside. We visited lots of lighthouses and state parks. There are so many wonderful trails in Michigan. It really is a beautiful state.

For this Five on Friday I'm sharing the second part of our walk from Sunday. You can see part one HERE if you're interested. The scenery was beautiful but the walk wasn't long so we decided to head to a park not too far away. Van Buren State Park. We've been there before, took the walk to the dog beach when we were searching for dog beaches when daughter was still here. On Sunday we decided to try another trail. This one looked like it was supposed to reach the beach. 

It did. Quite a way down. 

 We took it thinking it would meander down the dune to the lake below. 

For a while it looked that way. Until we reached a drop.

It was a steep drop down onto the beach below. Hubby being the brave one (?!) decided to go down first. He said we would be fine. We could slide on our bums downwards until we reached the beach. I gave him the camera bag and let him go first.

He slid on his bum, his legs wobbled in the shifting sand and he did a roly poly down the hill. Luckily he wasn't hurt. A couple watched from the beach. Nope. Not me. I wasn't doing that! Just my luck I'd break something. Of course I had to move somewhere. Up or down. My first thought was just taking a seat on the sand and...well, maybe something would come to me. The sand was quite squishy and shifting and it was quite a way down. I was getting rather dizzy looking down.

I decided going up would be better. I couldn't turn around and walk up. It was really steep and I could feel the sand shifting beneath my feet.  I had to do some back crawling up the hill using the straw-like grass to help me back up (my arms did not thank me for that on Monday!). I managed to get to a point where I found a sort of path through the sand dune. Husband was trying to shout at me which way to go, but I couldn't hear too well as the wind whistled around me.

This is about where I came down and believe me this was easier than where hubby came down! Luckily by this time the people on the beach had moved along obviously tired of the show we were putting on.

A lovely view when we did get down. Had to sit down on a log to give my legs a moment to stop wobbling!

It could have ended badly. We probably should have stopped at the top, admired the view and turned around. Hubby probably should have paid attention to his little handheld unit when it had the lines really close together showing a steep hill. Oh well, lesson learned!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Running around in circles

I feel like a hamster on one of those wheels. I keep running around and seem to get nowhere.

It's all about sorting, decluttering. My house isn't overly cluttered (well, maybe the basement is but a lot of that is not my stuff!), but we have a lot of stuff. I am trying to sort through it but I feel like I am getting absolutely nowhere. I have been working on some cupboards upstairs. It is really a catch-all for all kinds of things. I have sorted through it, have a box of blankets for the animal shelter, donated some stuff and thrown away other things but there still seems to be a lot of it left.

Most of it is dolls. My MIL bought daughter lots of dolls. My MIL had no daughters of her own and our daughter was her first granddaughter. Some of them 'special' and were quite expensive. Daughter knows Grandma will be upset if she gets rid of them but daughter is in an apartment and doesn't have room for them. I have agreed to hold on to them for now. The other granddaughter got rid of all her dolls and MIL was quite upset.

That doesn't help me. Other son still has things up there too. He lives in a studio apartment which is a temporary thing and he doesn't have room for some of his stuff. He really needs to sort through it. Sigh.

I guess I really need to just deal with it or tell them to take it or else (probably not!). This is obviously just a venting post. How do others do with decluttering? What about those 'special' things people gave you. Do you find it easy to get rid of them? Or do you hold onto them?

Have included this just because it makes me happy - Shasta with her new toys (which are at daughter's place).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bright, Sunny Day

I should be doing housework but the weather is just so lovely this morning that I had to go for a walk. The sky is completely blue and the sun is shining. It's certainly a day to make the most of it. There will be time for housework.

The woods were really coming alive this morning. This park is not far from me. Sometimes I walk there. This time I had some shopping to do so stopped there in the car on the way home. It isn't far from the house, but feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.

It's really close to a main road but you wouldn't know it from this photo!

I was waiting for these to come out! A splash of lovely spring colour in the still mostly bare woods.

A couple of birds enjoying the morning sun.

Now it's time to get some work done. I bought some of those vacuum seal storage bags to store some blankets and curtains that are currently in the upstairs cupboard. I need to get it sorted! Easy meal tonight - salad and flatbread.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday Walk

Back to rain this morning but yesterday was a glorious day - warm and sunny, no clouds in the skies at all. We went for a walk at a State Park we haven't been to before - Grand Mere park. We knew it was going to be hilly as it is surrounded by sand dunes. I took a deep breath and decided to go for it. I like a nice walk (as you might be able to tell from my Sunday posts) but I don't particularly like hills. My bad ankle doesn't like hills either, especially those covered with sand. Hubby bought me some hiking sticks for Christmas and they really do help with the stability.

It wasn't a particularly long walk but mostly uphill!

Lovely walk along the lake before heading back up!

A stack of cairns on the beach. I did add one to the very top stack.

We took a different way back. It was supposed to lead to the nature trail. Still hilly. I let my hubby have a head start (ha ha). We hadn't taken that way to begin with as the beginning of the path was flooded. We saw a family wading through the muddy water in bare feet. Shudder. Not that adventurous!

Yup. Flooded! We managed to find a path on higher ground and walked that way.

Not a lot growing yet, but a butterfly! Surely that is a sign of Spring.

Because the walk wasn't that long we decided to go back to another park we've visited before but that's a story for another day. I think I'll save that one for Five on Friday. I thought on this one husband was going to break something and I was going to be stuck halfway up/down a sand dune! Yikes.