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.

Monday, June 10, 2019

After the Weekend...

Saturday wasn't a bad day weather wise. We managed to get out and take a walk on the beach before the holidaymakers got there. It was pretty quiet. I think that's the best time to walk the beach. I did manage to Skype with Mum today. She'd been having trouble with her internet connection on her computer. She had to have her modem changed by Virgin a couple of weeks back and even though the man who came said he had hooked up both her computer and Kindle with the new codes she couldn't get through to anything on her computer. My middle sister went over on Friday and took a look. Apparently the man hadn't put in the code properly. Once Sister did it everything worked okay. It was nice to see her again. It won't be long (July 12) until I go visit her and spend six lovely weeks with her.

Sunday dawned grey and rainy. Yuck. We took a drive anyway and managed - by going north - to avoid the rain for a quick walk, but it soon caught up with us. We ended up heading back early than usual but did get some shopping done on the way back. I won't have a car again this week as son has yet to buy one. He and Hubby did go look on Saturday afternoon, but he's still thinking about it. He probably won't make a decision until we get back from our next week camping holiday. I shall have the car one day this week as I need to buy supplies for our trip.

Today is grey and rainy again. It isn't very cheerful at all for a Monday morning. I find it difficult to get moving on days like this. I have done a few things, shall read some blogs and then do a little more.

I managed to sort out a few books though it is getting more difficult as I still find myself wanting to read them. I shall keep going though! A couple of these I've read and a couple I haven't but it's time to let them go.

I thought I'd share a photo from my garden. I've been posting on other photography blog so I don't yap about birds and whatnot all the time lol. I've been watching these baby starlings. They are huge! About as big as their parents! I think sometimes the parents have had enough as they fly off when the babies start to crowd them and leave the babies there just looking around lol.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Another Day....

It was supposed to be sunny and dry today so I thought I'd walk down to the park (takes about 25mins walk to get there), have a walk around and walk back so I wouldn't go absolutely crazy being stuck in the house. Of course it wasn't sunny, it was drizzly and foggy. I put my coat on anyway and walked down there. The sun didn't come out until well after I was home. Sigh. Tomorrow husband is going in later to walk and dropping son off at his so I will have my car for the day. I shall do a walk, but I've got some shopping to do.

One good thing about my week in - I haven't bought any groceries, so I've been using up things we have! I've made a good dent in the small freezer. I'll see what else I can find in there and supplement with bought items (purchased over the weekend).

I didn't post yesterday so I have 2 books to add to the pile. I have recently read both of them. I struggled to get through the first one. I didn't particularly like the characters or the story. Oh well, live and learn. This shall be added to the 'donate to library' pile.

This second book I absolutely loved. I finished it today. I sat and cried at the end. I have actually going to take this one to England with me and share with Mum so it will be added to her pile. I was tempted to keep, but I am trying to be good! I know she'll enjoy it. I usually take an extra case with me (use it as a carry on there and checked in on way back) so I'm taking a few books to her. She loves to read but they are so expensive to post!

I did say I'd post the other three cards that I made. Unfortunately I have no idea what I did with the photos! I took them, but didn't download to my computer when I added the others (insert grumpy face here). I shall have to retake. It's the story of my life.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Random Mutterings and some Crafts

I managed a few cards - and photographed them! I'll share three today and three more tomorrow.

I didn't have a car today but I wanted to get out so I walked down to where I usually drive to walk. I didn't manage as much of a walk around the park as I usually do as I had to walk there and back (and the skies were beginning to look a little grey). I made it back to one street from our street before it started to spit with rain. Not bad. I didn't get very wet. I hadn't taken an umbrella or a coat (was wearing a sweater) as it wasn't supposed to rain until later. I should have known not to trust what the weather said!

I did sort a book out today. I did read some of it and it was very interesting, but it's been a while and I know I won't get through anymore so it's time to let it go. I did find a lovely bookmark in it though which I shall be keeping!

Finally, I decided to put on hold the photography blog I was doing (have removed the link). I hadn't kept it up as I hoped and I was wavering all over the place in subject matter. I decided instead to do one on Tales from over the Garden Wall - all about the goings on in my garden.  I spend lots of time, in all seasons, watching and photographing what's going on so I thought I'd try organising those thoughts. We shall see how well that goes!

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Little More Decluttering

Son is borrowing my car for a few days so I'll be close to home and probably be going crazy by the end of the week. There are a couple of things I'd like to get done, so we'll see how I go. Usually I end up with lots of plans that don't usually end up happening. One thing I wanted to get done was finish putting away the majority of winter clothes and getting out warmer weather clothes. I had sorted through some a little while ago, but it was still pretty chilly and I'd kept out quite a few jumpers. The weather is starting to warm up so I wanted to make it easier to get to the tee shirts and smaller socks - yah! can put away most of the wooly ones (though I kept a few handy for camping lol). I 'discovered' a couple of nighties I'd bought last year that I'd forgotten about so I got rid of my holey (really comfortable) one as well as some odd socks (the washing machine monster must have eaten the matching ones). I also found up a couple of items for donation - 3 shirts I no longer wear, 1 pair capris, a jacket and a dress of daughters. I'm probably not the only one, but there are certain things I really like to wear so I'm trying to let go of those things that I don't wear so often or feel sort of blah about. No point hanging onto them. Getting rid of clothes is a lot easier for me than books, probably as I don't particularly care for them.

And onto the books.... I didn't post yesterday, so I'm doing two lots for today. These are going in the 'donate to library bookshop' bag. There are actually four of them. I have decided that I won't be reading them so hopefully someone else will enjoy.

I got some crafting done too. I'm actually feel quite productive, though lazy in the exercise way as no walk.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 1st - Book Decluttering

It's been a rainy sort of day here in Michigan. Warm, but stormy and rainy. We were lucky enough to make it out for a little walk around the lake at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. There were cygnets born to a couple of swans and we were lucky enough to see them! So cute!

They seemed to hide once more people came out. They must have been really young as they had trouble standing and seemed to stumble as though they couldn't find their feet or weren't quite sure how they worked. 

I talked with Mum -  no Skype today. She had to have her modem changed and the man who came to do it must not have added the code to her computer as she can't get it to go online at all. My sister has been on holiday, but next she goes to Mum's we're hoping she'll take a look at it and add the security code for the modem. 

As today is the beginning of June (rabbits rabbits!) I took 12 photos for my A Year with my Camera group. On the first Saturday of each month we're supposed to take a photo an hour. I don't always manage one an hour but I took twelve that I have to sort out, edit and put in a collage. Also as it is the first of the month I had to sort out a book to declutter. It isn't as easy as it sounds - at least not for me. I won't tell you how many I looked through before I managed to find not just one book but two! Wahoo! I'm pretty sure if not for this challenge I wouldn't get rid of these two as I still would like to read, but realistically I've had them for a while so -  my thinking is - that if I haven't read them yet I probably should let them go to someone who would like to read them. I am hearing the Frozen song 'let it go' in my head as I type this.