2016 Summer Reads Week 9

2016 Summer Reads Week 9 Update

The past few days have been hot, hot, hot! I finished the second book in the series fo Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Hollow City. It was just as good as the first. And, on thinking on it, I’ve determined that the writing and the way the tale unfolds sort of reminds me of the My Father’s Dragon books by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I will be getting the third in the series, but probably won’t start it until after summer.

hollowcity

I’ve been working on another project as well.

iSUP

You may remember that I did an ill-fated land paddling thing summer of 2014. This new project is safer, if you don’t count drowning. I am wearing a life vest and a leash, and sticking to the shallows. I looked back on my notes from the land-attempt and found this “First, the balance thing. Try standing on one foot for more than sixty seconds. You might not enjoy it. Your foot might hurt. And your knee. And your shin. And your calf. At first, I could only do ten minutes and it was agony.” Um, yeah. Same thing on the water, although my first attempt was 15 minutes and involved suddenly sitting down on the lake bottom twice (I was only in up to my knees, so it was no big deal). Last time around I was getting better by the fourth time I did it. Loving it by the 11th. And unfortunately the whole thing finished up on #13.

Anyhow, I am reaching out and grabbing a firm hold on summer. Hope you are, too.

Summer Reads 2016 list:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris.

Like Summer Reads? More here:

2016 Week Eight Update

2016 Week Five Update

2016 Week Four Update

2016 Week One Update

2015 Summer Reads Introduction

2014 Summer Reads Introduction

Garden Update Spring 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

Garden Update Spring 2016

May31a

Thought it was well time for a garden update spring 2016. Things have been growing quickly! I planted radish, carrot, beet, lettuce and arugula seeds on May 6. Planted all the flowers on May 21, and the cemeteries and vegetables on May 25:

May25a

We had our first squash blossoms and the start of peppers on May 29:

May29

And by May 31, things were really starting to look good. It’s been a fantastic year for hostas for some reason.

May31

 

The Siberian Irises are in bloom, and the salvia looks great.

May31b

 

We had our first white globe radish out of the garden over the weekend and should be able to start pulling them regularly this week, along with the arugula. I did some supplemental lettuce planting, and added more beet seeds where they all didn’t come up. We have the start of tiny tomatoes and a good four peppers coming. It’s been hotter than normal, with lots of sun. I’ve been watering every night.

May25
This is the best time of year to live in Michigan. Everything is fresh and growing.

 

 

December Updates

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Misc. December Updates

xmasheads
Here we are, at year-end, and I haven’t done a good job of posting anything other than postcards. Today’s a good day for Misc. December Updates. First, it’s been unseasonably warm this year. Freakishly warm. 60 degrees on Thanksgiving. Bob and I took two walks downtown that day, and had a wonderful dinner with all our family at Mom’s house. That’s the Elizabeth Building above. It was built in 1912 and named for the builder’s wife, according to this. For as long as I remember, The Hair Shed has decorated this window with their wigs. I’ve always found it fascinating.

xmaslights

It’s supposed to be warm this week, too. How warm? According to Accuweather:

weather

 

We’ve had some amazing sunrises:

sunrise

And fantastic sunsets, too:

sunset

Bob installed my cat weathervane on the new shelter pole barn. Don’t you love it? I do!

Last night, the winter solstice came at 11:49pm. We are celebrating the first day of the return to the light tonight, with taco soup, cheddar jalapeno bread and a steamed pudding. I’ll be sure to take a photo of the pudding if it turns out. I’m posting regularly on Instagram if you want to see what I’m doing on a regular basis. I’m sitting on a ton of new postcards for the new year. Wishing you and yours much joy in the year ahead.

Misc. Monday

moon

Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.

tomatillos

Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).

tomatos

In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).

cabbage

And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!

crochetblanket

I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.

crochetscarf

I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:

 

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Queen’s Motel

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

queens

Queen’s Motel
701 Huron St. (The Main Street, north and south of)
Mackinaw City, Michigan
One of the newest Modern Motels directly on the Straits. Private sandy beach. Good Swimming. Electric heat – Wall-to-Wall Carpeting – Ceramic Tile Baths with Tubs & Showers – Free T.V.
Located between the two Ferry Docks and close to Restaurants and Shopping Center.
P.O. Box 565   Phone 436-5493
THANK YOU, FROM THE QUEEN’S MOTEL

Pub. by Leon Foster, 221 North Fifth St., Blanchard, Mich.
Made by Dexter Press, Inc. West Nyack, New York
90302-B

This lovely vintage postcard is unused, and the lovely old motel is no longer standing.

Up North

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Mom, Kirsten and I made a quick trip up north on Monday, and then back home on Tuesday:

mymaps

We left at shortly after 6am, and headed up back roads towards Benzonia.

manistee

We stopped at Gwen Frostic in Benzonia.

gwenfrosticsign

gwenfrosticentrance

The Heidelberg presses were running.

gwenfrosticprint
Next we headed on to Beulah for lunch at the Cherry Hut. The Cherry Hut opened in 1922.

cherryhut

We did partake in a piece of cherry pie for dessert. It was excellent. We left Beulah and continued up along US 31 to Mackinaw, enjoying the sites along the way.

cherrybowl

We finally arrived at the Bridge View Motel (part of the Bell’s Melody Motel complex of four hotels) at 3:30pm.

motel

We’ve stayed at that group of motels for many years. After dropping our stuff, we walked up and down the beach and waded in the warm water.

waterfront

waterfront2bridge

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bridge

Then we went into town for some more bridge-viewing, shopping (including our favorite, Sign of the Loon) and dinner at the Depot. Then, back to the motel for wine on the beach with a camp fire. The sunset was amazing.

startofsundown

wine

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The next morning, Mom and I got up in time to watch the sunrise.

sunrise

We walked down to Bell’s to grab a coffee and started the day relaxing on the beach.

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sunrise3

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We then all got ready, checked out and headed to the Pancake Chef in town for breakfast. We grabbed some fudge at Joann’s and Mom got a case of pasties before heading out of town down US 23.

scenicoverlook

Of course, we had to stop at a scenic overlook. That’s Lake Huron in the distance.

US23

It took us slightly longer than planned to find the Ocqueoc Falls (the DNR website helpfully gives longitude and latitude, but not a street address). I didn’t get a full photo of the falls, but there’s a great panoramic Google Street View here.

ocqueocriver3

You can get right in the river there, and play in the falls. Kirsten and I did wade in.

ocqueocriver
The falls area was quite busy. We decided to walk part of the trail system (about 2.5 miles), and were blissfully alone.

ocqueoctrailmap

ocqueoctrail2

ocqueoctrail

ocqueocriver2
After leaving the falls area, we journeyed to our last stop at my grandparents’ cottage on Circle Drive. When I stopped to snap a photo of the sand cliff, an old guy stopped his car to chat about it. He’s been watching the cliff since 1960.

birdcliff
I haven’t been there in many, many years. They sold it 14 years ago. From their place, looking down to Mrs. Hodge’s home:

circledrive
Looking up the street at my grandparents’ place, on the right.

circledrive2

I stood at the end of the drive; the dogs living at the house now were going nuts. I stood there and let them bark until the homeowner called out and asked if I needed help.

cottage

I went up and introduced myself, Mom and Kirsten. The owner came out and chatted with us. She bought the home from my grandparents, and remembered them fondly. She invited us in. The house is just the same as it was. She told us that Gramma made her promise that they would maintain the path through the field back to the woods, and they always had. She invited us to go down to the water, and then walk on the path. It was more than I could have hoped. From the house, looking down to the dock:

downtothelake

downtothelake2

dock

And here is the path through the field to the woods:

tothefield

field3

field2

After leaving Ocqueoc, we went on to Harrison, to see Hudda’s cottage on Budd Lake. We stopped at the Dairy Queen on the way. I dropped Mom and Kirsten off at 6pm and was home at 6:30.

We had the best time. Lots of laughs and talking over good memories. I can’t believe we packed it all in during such a short trip.

Summer Reads 2015

Book One: What Comes Next and How to Like It

What Comes Next and How to Like It

I started out the Summer Reads 2015 with Abigail Thomas’ What Comes Next and How to Like It. A true memoir, the writing style captivated me from the very beginning. I’m wanting to try one of Thomas’ writing assignments: “Take any ten years of your life, reduce them to two pages, and every sentence has to be three words long.” Perfect, no? Let me know if you try it for yourself. Thomas has some great words of wisdom along the way; some strike me now, and some I think will make more sense as I age. I especially like “Part of what I’ve learned is that if it isn’t life and death, it isn’t life and death. I have learned that every moment is precious.” As I was reading this book, I immediately thought it would be one that my Grandma Russell would have enjoyed. I passed it on to my friend Lois, who is also enjoying it very much.

Book Two: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is quite a book. It goes back and forth between years, following two characters during WWII. It’s heavy stuff, both from the number of pages and the content. But it is wonderfully written and absolutely got in my head to the point where I’m thinking about it in my spare moments now that it’s over. I’m not quite ready to start a new book, as I still want to bask in this one for awhile longer. Highly recommend if you can devote the time and energy; it’s not light reading for sure.

Next book up is Hannah Nordhaus’ American Ghost. And so it is, the second week on my summer reads out of 15 weeks and I’m already on book three of my list of eight. I may have to come up with some additional pieces if I keep going.

Garden Update

We’ve been working in the gardens! In addition to the flower gardens, Bob is putting in a vegetable garden in the front yard. I did get all the veggies planted (tomatillos, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and strawberries), but still need to get some photos. Last night dropped to 45 and tonight is supposed to drop to 40. This past weekend was flat cold and rainy. We had a fire last night, and I spent all of yesterday in the house with the curtains drawn. I don’t remember it being this cold in June before.

garden

Anyhow, the annuals are all in and five bags worth of mulch is down. This year I re-edged the front garden along the driveway so it’s nice and straight, and put in a few more perennials, plus moved some that needed more space. Looking at my photos from previous years, you might not be able to tell it’s straight once it all grows in, but it does look nice and orderly now.

garden
I will get some more photos this week if the weather cooperates.

Summer Reads 2015

These are the titles I’m planing on reading this summer:

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters