Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's Official...I've had enough of Winter

I must admit this is a little of a moan post. Well, perhaps quite a lot of moan.

I am officially tired of winter. I'm tired of being cold. I'm tired of snow and ice. I'm tired of having to bundle up before stepping out of the door. I'm tired of having to warm up the car before going anywhere. I'm tired of feeling like half the day is over before it's light.

So, that's the moan. I hear they are having lovely weather where Mum is. How glorious! I have really enjoyed seeing the lovely Spring photos on Instagram and in my Facebook Camera Club. They cheer me up no end in these seemingly long winter days.

We got our heat back after about 18 hours. That was long enough. Brrr… It sounded like they were really surprised we still had separate wires going into the house. They restrung the broken one and wound them into one wire, so next time if something comes down we'll lose all power to the house. On the plus side because it's one wire it is thicker and less likely to come down. Being without heat made me think of that post I did the other day - the one about spending the winter somewhere isolated. It would have to include a lovely fireplace or wood burning stove with lots of wood prepared.

It's been a kind of blah! week so far. I did go out yesterday, walked a little while, but it was really cold and everywhere was quite icy. I was really glad of those ice things I bought to put on my shoes. They saved me from slipping. I'm not sure if I'll go out walking today. I might stay in. It's cloudy and snow might/might not be in the forecast, it's -6c (22f) and the warmest it's supposed to get today is -1 c (31F) so I might just stay in and get some things done around here. I would like to get out and take photos, but there really isn't anything that catches my attention at this moment. It's a case of the winter blues I think. It's colder where daughter lives but - as I told her - at least they get sunshine. I think that's what gets me down sometimes.

On the plus side - I was looking at photos from March last year and came across these - the first flowers I saw growing. It was March 18th! So maybe the end is in sight....

Sunday, February 24, 2019


Thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post. I'm not sure I could stand the isolation either, but it's a nice fantasy lol. I think it's just that I'd love to be able to take photos of such lovely areas rather than where we live. I also think it would be kind of interesting to see how I would do in such a place - not sure I'd do it alone. I'd take husband with me - at least for a while. Maybe we'd just drive each other crazy.

It wasn't a bad day yesterday. We went for a drive in the morning. I Skyped with Mum. Middle son came up to go to the cinema with husband and older son. Mum and I were trying to work out where we're going to go for our holiday, also trying to work out when I'd go over. I am thinking booking plane tickets is in the near future.

Sunday dawned with high winds - we're under a wind warning until tomorrow morning. We took a drive to the lakeshore. It was extremely windy - difficult to be out for even a little while - but we weren't the only ones! It was snowing and blowing on our way back. Worse still, when we got back to town we found out there had been freezing rain and the roads were very icy. Luckily husband is a really good driver in all weathers and confident about doing it. I would have just ditched the car lol.

We hadn't been home for long when I thought I saw something spark outside the window close to my chair. I then thought perhaps it was from the television but sure enough something banged and a wire came down. Husband had to ring the power company to let them know but I am pretty sure there are lots of lines down. I don't know why they don't put them underground. We lost power to part of our downstairs which happens to include heat. It's an older house and apparently there is more than one power line coming into the house. So no heat. Not sure when it will be fixed. We do have an electric heater so it is plugged in the living room and I'm getting the blankets out lol.

Two different lighthouses we visited. Usually we walk along to the right of the rocks, it's a walkway. Not today! The water was coming over really high and fast! It really amazes me every time I visit Lake Michigan when it's like this. I would never have thought that a lake could whip up such fury.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sometimes...just thinking...

Sometimes I wonder how it would be to live somewhere so desolate during the winter months. Last week when we went up to the U.P of Michigan we stopped on the way back at the Mission Point Lighthouse. It is out on the Old Mission Peninsula. There isn't much around it. I think how it must have been for the lighthouse keepers in the past to be in such a isolated place, not being able to go anywhere, worrying whether their provisions would carry them through the long winter. I think about what it would be to live in such a place now. Sometimes I think about spending a winter in isolation, wandering out on the land and taking photos. It's just a dream, but still...

This is the view of Lake Michigan. If it was in summer I would be standing in the lake to take this photo. But not now.  As far as the eye could see there was snow and ice, perhaps just the beginnings of the unfrozen lake in the distance. It was really cold standing here. The wind was blowing and bitterly cold despite the lovely blue skies and sunshine. So beautiful. 

This weekend looks to be changeable weather, another Winter Storm Watch in the making. No sunshine in sight, though we have been treated to plenty in the last couple of days (of course not on the weekend!). We'll try to get out. I will be happy as long as I can take some photos. If nothing else, I shall put out some nuts as a treat to the birds and try to take some fun photos. 

Enough rambling...just thinking.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I'm back! Ice Bridge - Upper Michigan

We're back from our little mini trip. It's amazing how much you can fit into a short space of time. We had a lot of fun. It's about a 4 1/2 hour drive away so quite a long trip. When we first got up there it was snowing like crazy and blowing so we postponed putting off the drive across the bridge for a little while. I told my husband what my Mum always says 'between one and two see what the day will do'. He hadn't heard the saying before. Anyway - it was good we waited. Just after one the snow stopped and the sun actually came out! It was really cold - way below zero - but the SUN WAS SHINING! Can you tell how happy I was? It stayed sunny too. Monday's forecast said there was going to be thick clouds, but it was sunny then too!

Anyway - we went lots of places - unfortunately there were lots of places that weren't cleared of snow. There was a lot of it. In some places it was about 18inches+ deep (45cm). We checked out the nearby International Dark Sky park near Mackinaw City. There are no lights allowed and supposed to be a great place to do night sky photography. We went during the day just to check it out. The snow there was really deep so we couldn't walk at all, but there are apparently trails to the lake that will be fantastic once the snow is gone. I can see a repeat trip in the future - once I actually know a little more about night sky photography. 

We did get to see the 'ice bridge' from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island.  It basically means that Lake Huron (another of the Great Lakes) freezes enough that snowmobiles and such can be taken across from the Island to the mainland. Otherwise the only way to the island is by small plane during the winter months. Old Christmas trees are lined to mark the tested route. Volunteers go out to test the thickness of the ice and place the trees. It was a lot busier than I imagined! We saw someone with a bike and people walking. 

We were really pleased to see this. So glad we went. I will share more photos from the trip throughout the week.

It's back to the grind again now. I think our next mini-trip will be a spring trip to a National Wildlife Refuge. 

I did get out yesterday - the sun was shining again! Today it's all change, a little snow and ice called for. I stayed out quite a while yesterday so today is a stay-inside day. I'll be ringing Mum later and have some housework to get done. Not to mention lots of photos to sort through and blogs to catch up on.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Just Another Saturday...

I stayed in again yesterday. Sigh. There was a little more snow and the hill outside my house looked horrible (though it did clear up later). Sheila, I'd gladly send you some of my snow if I could! I admit I enjoy the first couple of snowfalls but by this time in the winter I am getting so tired of it. Instead I got some jobs done and then had fun (and some frustration) trying to take photos of snowflakes. It isn't as easy as it sounds! I found a black towel and took photos as the snowflakes fell. There were more failures than good photos but it was fun to try! Sometimes the snow doesn't fall in lovely little flakes but yesterday it did!

We went out to the lakeshore today to look at the ice at Warren Dunes State Park. They had a lot less snow than us but the ice was lovely. However there was a sheet of it on the beach so we didn't walk too far. I don't mind walking on ice that either has a little top crunch to it or sand but when it's a sheet of ice there is nothing to grab onto. I didn't want to take another spill!

I Skyped with Mum for a while. We're trying to sort out holidays and dates. Still didn't make any decisions. Middle son came to visit for a little while.

Tomorrow we're off on our mini-trip. I'm hoping it will be fun. I shall be all wrapped up with hand and toe warmers and I'll hopefully have some good photos to share! I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday...almost the weekend

It started snowing Tuesday night and didn't stop until Wednesday afternoon. Instead of the 2inches of snow we were forecast we ended up with about 12 inches. Husband was not happy. He had clear the driveway of snow as well as brush the snow off the roof. It took him ages to do it. He was glad of a nice warm shower when he came inside.

Luckily today it had cleared up. The roads were still a little icy this morning but I did go out. Two days inside was enough! I didn't go too far, just down to the local nature place for a walk. The snow was quite thick and it took me a lot longer than normal! There didn't look as though many people had been out as some of the trails were completely pristine snow (and really deep!). I stuck to the trails where it looked as though someone had been through with skies. Everything did look quite pretty though! I was looking at our snowfall totals for the season and we are over what we usually get. Sigh. Surely Spring is around the corner. When I said that to my mum she laughed.

I almost missed that it was Valentine's Day today - would have if not for all the sweet/flower displays in the shops. As a rule we generally don't 'do' Valentine's Day. We did splurge on some things for our shoes to help us walk in icy conditions and they happened to arrive today.

They go over your boots and are supposed to help with traction. They seem easy enough to get on. We shall try them out this weekend as Sunday we are going away for the night. We are going up to Mackinaw City to try to get photos of the Mackinaw Bridge in winter. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for half-way decent weather!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Icy Tuesday and more Random

When I woke up this morning there was ice everywhere. My car has quite a thick layer of ice covering it. Hubby texted me saying that the roads were pretty bad and the local schools were closed. Needless to say I did not go anywhere either. I did go up to my craft room for a little while - not long, couldn't sit in the chair for long. I think I'm going to order one of those cushions for tail-bone issues. I think this is going to take longer to heal than I first thought. The pain is a lot more manageable but it still hurts. I did make some muffins - only from a mix I had in the cupboard, but I'm determined to use up things I have on hand and baking them made the house smell lovely.

I worked on getting taxes done. Yuck. Not a favourite thing to do, but necessary. My middle son was going to bring his for me to do today, but because of the weather he's staying home. It's about a 40 minute drive from him to me so I'm glad he stayed put. I worry when any of them drive in lousy weather. I know they grew up driving here, but I still worry (suppose it's a Mum thing!).

Thanks for the tips on blocking. I might try it on my ironing board. I could do it in bits. If it doesn't work I can think about other methods, but as I'm trying to save some money I'll try it the free way first!

The birds in the garden seem really hungry today. It's probably the weather. I hope it's not a clue of what's to come! I've had to put extra food out twice today. There were so many starlings (greedy things!) along with the usual mix of sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, wrens, mourning doves and squirrels. The sparrows seem to like out front more. I think it's because things are a little calmer out there. They hide out in the bushes - I think they might live there!

I'm hoping the weather will be better tomorrow. This is the time when winter seems to drag on! Hope everyone had a lovely Tuesday. If you've got sunshine please try blowing a little bit this way - I could certainly use it!

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

I seem to be jumping around on thoughts today. I managed to get out for a walk. Ice and snow are called for again tomorrow (we're under a Winter Weather Advisory) so I thought I'd get out walk and run some errands while I could. If I'm in tomorrow I can get more things done around here.

We had a somewhat enjoyable weekend. Yesterday we took a trip further up the lakeshore to see what Lake Michigan looked like. It was extremely icy. The beach was covered in ice as were both the walkways to two lighthouses we went to. I did not attempt either one. We walked a little way out on the ice but it was very bumpy with large balls and ice rocks so I stopped while I was ahead. I couldn't believe how crazy people were. One beach we went to a woman had her children up on top of an ice formation and one of them was sitting with his feet dangling in one of the large cracks while the other was lying on his stomach looking down the crack!!!! I couldn't believe someone would let their children do this! They were going to slide off the ice face down onto the iced over lake but the woman put a stop to that. It was about a 12 foot (3.65m) drop.

It was one of the big cracks that you can see.

We were quite a way away. It was a long walk/climb out to that formation which would have involved walking over lots and lots of ice.

I've been thinking more about cleaning/sorting. Has anyone done the Marie Kondo thing? I hope that's her name. I see that she does a show on Netflix, but I haven't watched it. Has it worked for anyone? I'm afraid that the 'sparking joy' would leave me getting rid of none of the books in my house!

Another thought running around in my head - has anyone tips about blocking knitting items? I have a couple of long cowls that (ends haven't been joined yet) are all curly at the edges and I thought that I should probably block them before joining the ends, but don't have any experience doing it. What do I need? I see there are some fancy blocks on Amazon but so far I've resisted. Any advise would be appreciated.

Still doing well on the spending. I was tempted to take a little trip to the craft shops and the book shop while out today, but I resisted! I thought about all the things in my craft room that still need to be used and thought I'd avoid temptation. I was 'good' last week too - instead of buying the series of books I wanted (two of which had 'fallen' into my online Amazon shopping trolley) I went to the library and borrowed them. I know this doesn't help the whole getting-rid-of-the-books-in-the-house thing, but I didn't add any more (at least not permanently).

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend!

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Yesterday it snowed again so I didn't go far. I was still hurting from when I fell so I stayed inside. I wasn't going to chance it. I took another bath with Epsom salts and it seemed to help a little. Today was actually the first day it isn't extremely painful. It's just painful lol. I have to laugh otherwise I'd have spent the last few days crying.

We went out today for a quick lakeshore trip before I Skyped with Mum. The sun actually started to shine! I wish we had more sunshine. It is one of the things I really liked about Minnesota. It was a lot colder than Michigan but at least there was sunshine. There is something about the sun that cheers me up and makes me feel warmer. We were careful when we were out walking. There were a lot of spots there were so icy I didn't go near them! I didn't want to risk another fall.

You can usually walk along this walkway. Not anymore - unless you want to risk falling on the ice or breaking an ankle! It is interesting to see. I love seeing how the ice has formed in balls or planks.

Inside the house, I admit to not doing much. The last few days have consisted of trying not to aggravate anything in my back. I've done a little knitting and did go upstairs to my craft room. Hopefully next week I can get up there and actually do something!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Non-Productive Day/February Goals

Today I was more sore than I was yesterday. I think everything stiffened up and I could barely move when I got out of bed. I forfeited my walk today - it was drizzly out and there were still icy spots. I couldn't stand the thought that I might slip again so I thought it was better just not to do a walk. I'm hoping things improve by the weekend so we can get out.

Needless to say, I didn't get a lot done. I took another bath which helped for a tiny bit and then ended up gingerly sitting in the chair. I'm okay if I don't move, but I can't see that happening for long. On the plus side I got plenty of reading done and some photos sorted. I did manage the unpacking and some washing. I'm thinking anything household like can just wait - it won't be going anywhere.

I looked at my January list. I was quite pleased with what I did manage to get done. I got all the sorting jobs done and wiped down all the walls in the kitchen (do have to redo some of the ceiling). Money-wise I did pretty well. I hit the goals I had for saving. For spending I hit my targets for both non-book spending and non-craft spending (I had allowed myself minimal amounts). I think I did good on the grocery budget but I wasn't as good at tracking amounts as I had hoped. I know I was more conscious of everything I was buying and I really thought about things. There were even times when I picked up things (especially leisure/hobby things) that I consequently thought about and put back. I was quite pleased with myself as before I would have just bought them.

February - my big cleaning project for this month is the freezers. We have one above the fridge and another chest freezer. I want them both sorted and things used and - if things are bad thrown away - condensed down into the one freezer above the fridge. This is going to be a big project and it's going to take some letting go on my part. It sounds crazy but I feel really guilty about having to throw some food away BUT I know that it will be a new beginning and a chance to start fresh. It's just getting past that horrible feeling of wasting things and throwing away money.

Financially - I want to continue to put money into the two holiday funds. I also want to put extra back as I know we have some big purchases coming up soon - I have a feeling both the washer and the de-humidifier are going to need replacing. I am planning on still consciously thinking about what I am spending and to limit myself for both books and craft items.

Other goals - I want to sort through some items to list on Ebay and I have some things sorted already but didn't list as I knew I would be going to daughters to visit. I have a pile of books I am planning on reading this month - sorted from my stash. I'll probably post a pic in the next couple of days. I'm keeping on track working on some of my photo projects and will hopefully do so this month.

I think that's it for now! Photo for today - lovely Koda, one of the huskies that lives with daughter and her boyfriend. She's such a sweetheart. She absolutely loves the snow!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Thanks and...ouch!

Thanks for all the lovely comments in the last post. I meant to reply to everyone and post again yesterday. Good intentions and all that. I got ready in the morning to go out for a walk and to pop to the shops. Husband had told me that the driveway was icy. I saw it was icy. There was a patch of ice right by my car door. I opened the car door, gingerly stepped on the ice...and promptly went down really hard. OUCH! I didn't break anything (luckily) but think I hit my arm and side on the car as they hurt and my tailbone (bottom of my back) really hurts. I can barely sit down. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I'm a little more sore this morning - and stiff. I am going to try to get out for a little bit. I am okay when I stand up, just hurts when I try to sit down.

Once I get moving today I am planning to (after daily things) :-

Unpack - I didn't end up doing it yesterday as ouch.
Update Jan goals
Do Feb goals
Skype Mum (we're all out of sequence on our 'normal' days)
Sort more photos

It seems a little strange being home and not having a dog begging for attention. Shasta really loved me paying attention to her. She lay next to me quite a bit. If it wasn't her the other two were around me. My cat is still slowly forgiving me for being away.

Hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Back Home

Wow! I can't believe more than a week has passed since I last blogged. I had really good intentions to check in during the week, but time just got away from me. I really enjoyed the time with daughter, boyfriend and the three huskies. It got pretty cold there in the middle of the week, so much so that we stayed inside completely on Wednesday. It was just too cold to go outside. Minnesota had the cold worse than Michigan. I can't believe daughter didn't move somewhere warmer instead of colder.

I'm giving myself tomorrow to relax a little and get back into the swing of things then I will start back on track. I've got to update January goals and plan my February goals.

We did stop at the Minnehaha Falls on the way to daughter's house when they picked me up at the airport. It was beautifully frozen with some blue ice. I absolutely loved it! Wished I could have stayed longer but it was cold even then!