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Monday, December 19, 2011

Time to Fly

Abs with her favorite
Just a few more things to do before Christmas.  The granddaughters are helping with the decorations.  A lot of our friends leave in October  but we wouldn't miss the holidays with the family for anything.  They live only blocks away so they are a huge part of our lives.

Gabs and Santa.  She mostly told him what her little sister wanted.
We will be on our way shortly after Santa visits, but a little later this year.  Maybe if we are lucky we will experience ONE snowstorm then escape the rest.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Birds are Here

I was hardly in the house from putting out new seed and seed-cakes before the Woodpecker was at the feeder.

He is an interesting fellow even in black and white.
A Chickadee was the next bird at the seed cake.  He comes in grabs a seed or two and flies away...then comes right back.  Skittish little thing!!!

Meanwhile the mate stayed in the hedgerow. 

I do love these photos.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack-O-Squirrels

Some of our pumpkins were not the orange variety, but our squirrels didn't seem to mind one bit.

They have torn into all of the 7 we had sitting about for them.
The next day...Punkin-Guts
Even two of the green ones!
Three of 6 left.  I wonder when they will hit these.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
It was such a beautiful autumn day that we took a drive South along Lake Erie visiting places like

Pointe Mouillee State Game Area

View from the Mouillee public area

Duck Hunter heading for the dock
This was the opening day of Duck Season and the noise started exactly at dawn.  It continued during the day even while we were at the Game Area.
Ducks and seagulls
We noticed this mix of seagulls and ducks along the shore.  Seems like the ducks were hiding out from the duck hunters.
Eagles Nest
View of the nest
It looks like a bunch of little snowballs

The red leaves looked lovely in the setting sun.

Some of the Fall Foliage along the Lake Shore


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hometown Photoshoot

There is a group of ladies in an Internet forum who have become really good friends over the last 5 or 6 years. Some recently decided to exchange postcards of their home towns.
Out new and old welcome sign combined
My wee town (2,000 people or so) does not seem to have any postcards.  I checked with City Hall and the nearby pharmacy.  Not much else in businesses in this city.  No postcards. So today I took my camera on a little shoot.
Looking up-river from one of the bridges
Here are some of the photos I didn't use...yet.  We have boats, boats, boats!!!  There are several marinas and, it has been said, there are more boats than the population.  Possibly because besides the marinas, there are loads of boats kept at the docks of those on the water.
A canal-side leisure spot
 With so many of the homes on the water, the residents love their outdoor living even if it is confined to a few short months.
City Hall with a nod to our geography on the water
When our city hall was built, the theme was all about the water, from the lighthouse in the architecture to the blue tile stripes around the buildings, to the chain and anchor parking separators in the parking lot.
Horse Island Bridge
Of course, if there are 5 natural canals, there have to be bridges.  We have 7 bridges and this one is the most scenic one.  It looks the same now as it did 70 some years ago when I first started visiting grandparents on Horse Island.  The road leading over the bridge was not paved back then.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Stress

We talked to a Florida neighbor on the phone the other night and he commented that Michiganders were coming to Florida this summer to cool off.  That isn't far from the truth.  This has been a record-breaking July with a week of temps in the low 90s and night temps in the high 70s.  Several days were record breakers.  It was the hottest July since they began keeping records.  Even the rain amount was high, but it came all in 3 storms.
Garden from the deck
The extreme weather stressed my garden and it was too hot for me to work on it.  I watered a few times but had to be careful of water bills with keeping the pool filled, too.  This was in late July but with the cooler weather in August the weeds have just taken over.  I have been working a little on bringing back the rose garden.  I am hoping the lady who worked with me last year on the garden will be here to help me again before fall.  She has indicated that she will be here once the weather cools down a little.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying the pool and air conditioning.
A pool keeps the youngsters amused for hours!!!
Monday, July 11, 2011

Backyard Photo Challenge




Do I like this photo?
In the Digital Photography School newsletter I read about a challenge to shoot some particular photos right in your own backyard.  There were 8 suggested challenge photos to take.  That same day my younger granddaughter was spending the day with me.  Her sister is 8 and has her own Canon camera, which just happened to be on my desk.  I showed the 5 year old a few details and out into the backyard we went.

Here are some of her photos and mine of her taking those photos.

1.  What strikes you?
This was the first thing that caught her eye.
2.  Photograph the light.  She liked the way the light came through the lattice roof.
If you look hard in the door wall glass you can see the little photographer.
3.  Shoot from a different perspective.  She got right down on the ground to "shoot" this frog once I explained "perspective".
My funny garden frog


A photographer doesn't care if she has to get down on the ground.

 4.  What is growing?  This is her herb garden and it is just starting to grow.  The seeds came from a Christmas gift set.
basil, chives, parsley.
5.  Where is your favorite place?

   


Yes...that is my favorite place in the backyard.

6.  Find lines and shapes.
She found this circle...just ignore the Gramma-razzi in the background.





Sunday, June 19, 2011

Strawberry Fields

Last year I ordered some strawberry plants a little late in the season.  I should have followed the planting directions but it seemed like a waste of space to plant them so far apart.
So sweet!
Now they are so close that the berries can't really develop.  That just doesn't seem to matter to my granddaughters who still love picking the little berries.

As soon as the plants stop putting out fruit I will move some to the vegetable garden area, and separate the rest as I should have initially.

Trying to beat the birds to the berries
Tiny but oh, so sweet!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rain Chains

"What do you think of this?" my friend, T. asked on the phone one day.  She gave me a URL to a Gutter Supply place.  She was looking at a nifty copper bowl to catch the rain water from her downspout and direct it away from the foundation.

I looked around the site and discovered "Rain Chains".  With the sunroom downspout right outside the window it seemed the perfect place for a 'Rain Chain".  I just had to order one.

It was autumn so the chain wasn't installed until this spring.


There is a soft bell-like sound but the rain on the aluminum roof of my sunroom is so loud  you don't hear it unless the rain has stopped and there is still a little run-off.

Coming Home to a "Garden of Weeds"

Helping Grandma
By the first of May, even a cold year like this has been, the weeds have taken hold of the garden and path.  I do as much as possible before giving in to chemicals.  This year I had some help from the granddaughters, but so far it is proving too much for even us all working together.

Rose garden from the porch
 The rose garden is a priority.  I still have to remove the old mulch and add new after I spray for mold.  The mold doesn't kill the roses but they sure look ugly before the end of the season.  A few of the roses came from a new neighbor who didn't want them in his yard.  I am not sure they are anything, but I have to give them a season just to see.
Rose garden and porch as seen from the rest of the garden.
The granddaughters' vegetable gardens
Through years of teaching elementary students I learned many have NO idea where fresh produce originates.  This is the granddaughters' area and they have been growing various vegetables for several years.  Last year we grew pumpkins.  This year they decided ONE pumpkin plant would be enough.  Beans and cucumbers are growing behind the trellises.  Corn, radishes, squash, sunflowers, carrots, and a lot of lettuce are planted.
We really need more weeding.  I guess I can't leave it to the children.





Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Downside to "Snowbird-dom"

I have a swimming pool.  It came with the house and when we did the initial walk-through, I was unimpressed.  I was 62...what did I need with a pool?  Well, 8  years and 2 granddaughters (and a lot of $$$) later I cannot imagine NOT having that pool.

Two years ago the pool company that opens my pool convinced me to invest in a new pool liner.  Didn't sound too expensive but add in the installation charges and water bill and it was darned expensive.

I have the "experts" open and close the pool each year.  Then they warn me to keep the cover pumped out.  From Florida?  So I bought an automatic siphon pump.  Water leaked into the cover from the pool water underneath and soon it was almost all gone and opening the pool that spring included refilling it with nearly $700 worth of city water...again.

Then in early April my next door neighbor in Michigan notified me that the pool sides were collapsing into the pool.  I panicked!!!!  I was still in Florida.  Numerous calls to the pool company didn't do much until we got home in May.  By then, someone, bless their hearts, had cut the ropes letting the cover fall into the pool and rescuing the sides.

An inspection by one of the pool company employees found a horizontal split on one side of the 2-year old liner just above the bottom.  He said it was a seam and the liner would be covered in part by the guarantee.  It wasn't.  The company insists the split was ABOVE the seam.  Ok...I am still trying to get their letter and the liner piece returned to me.

Meanwhile, the pool store installed a new, better liner at a discount, but it still cost a bunch of $$$ and I haven't seen the water bill yet.

But it is all worth it:

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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