Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


History at home

Scott over at his blog Views Infinitum has challenged us to find out a bit about the local history in our own towns. This assignment isn’t due till Wednesday so you still have time to find some history near you and participate!  I’d love to learn more about the towns you all live in!

I admit I don’t know very much about my own town.  I’m not even sure it qualifies as a real town given there’s only a party store, a lawyers office, a garage… and…The Candle Factory!

What?  You don’t have a Candle Factory in your town?  You wonder what one would look like?  Well let’s go visit!

The Candle Factory has been housed since 1960 in a building that was built in the 1830’s as a general store.  It is characteristic of many buildings in Midwestern towns that were founded in the mid-19th century.  You may even have grown up in a town with buildings just like it.  Notice this wall where the bricks don’t quite match the bricks on the front of the building?

That’s evidence of the staying power of history.  A few years ago we had a tornado come through town; it stripped all the bricks from this side of the building.  I talked with the owner of the business today and she said the tornado flew in a side window and out the front, but thankfully didn’t damage the equipment inside.

Want to meet Phoebe and see her candle-making equipment?  Well come on in!

Phoebe and her two daughters have owned the business since 2000.  The automated dipping equipment is made out of lumber, bicycle gears and roller skate wheels.

It runs the whole length of the building, moving the wicks high above the main floor, gradually bringing them down to the big pot of hot wax into which they are dipped and then moving them through a hole in the floor into the basement to give them extra cooling time, eventually bringing them around full circle and back up to the ceiling again for another trip to the hot wax.  It looks somewhat medieval, but it’s a marvel that any engineer would find engaging.  Today they were hanging wicks on the equipment getting ready to dip long tapers.

I really enjoyed my visit. I’ve lived here almost twenty years and I’ve never stopped at The Candle Factory.  I promised I’d be back, hopefully to see the equipment in action!

If you like candles and want something truly special, handmade with with love, check out their website. They ship all over the country.  They do special one of a kind candles, hand decorated with whatever you need.  In some families a Candle Factory Christmas candle is an annual holiday tradition.

Think I’ll have to start a tradition too.  Support your local artists, you know?  And if you don’t have a Candle Factory in your town, well come on…support mine!

Thanks Phoebe for showing me your business, sharing it’s history and spending time with me, some stranger with a camera and a need for a story.

It was nice meeting you!



No good reason to get wet

I think we need a bit of relief from all the solemnity around here lately.  So of course I will turn to my go-to dog Katie to bring a smile to all our faces.  And it just happens that Reilly is holding another contest, hoping we’ll all share our cutest “having fun with water” photos.

I’m pretty sure Katie isn’t a beach dog, and she probably doesn’t like swimming, though she hasn’t had the opportunity to try either of these activities yet.  She has been around ponds and lakes and is always very careful not to get her feet wet.

She likes posing near water.  Heck she likes posing near anything!

Sometimes she isn’t thrilled when the water is frozen either.  But it’s spring so we won’t go there.


She goes to a groomer for her bath, so I’ve never seen her completely wet, and I didn’t think it was fair to put her in the tub this morning just so I could see what she looks like when she’s soaked.  So the closest I could come to a wet Katie-girl was to run around in the tall wet grass this morning.  Here she is in all her morning sogginess.


Katie says the only good reason to get wet is if there’s something exciting to chase!

And the best water is the water in her bowl.

She may have a point!






Photo scavenger hunt

Karma, over on her blog has challenged people everywhere to a photo scavenger hunt.  I learned about it late while visiting Gerry over at her blog and though it sounded like fun I wasn’t going to do it because I didn’t think I had the time.  Plus I was intimidated by the list of things we needed to photograph:

Body of water







…and for extra credit a clear picture of a cardinal!

Where would I find a train to photograph?  I thought about going to the zoo which I knew had a miniature train.  But that would take all day and I don’t have all day…and who knew if the train was even running so early in the season?

In the end I decided to go for it and just see how many of these things I could find in a couple of hours around here.  Want to see?  Well follow me!

Body of water:  As I was driving I thought about all the hundreds of photos I have of the Great Lakes, the ponds near here, the lake in Alabama where our summer house is.  Lots of beautiful water.  But today I was feeling more quirky and when I saw this body of water out of the corner of my eye I turned around and went back.

I liked how the sign reflected in the big puddle on this dirt road.  While I was taking photos of the mud I was startled by the sound of footsteps coming up behind me.  Turns out it was a guy that owned a business across the street.  He thought I was some sort of surveyor and wanted to know what the plans were for the land.  I have no idea, but we talked about cameras and photography for quite awhile until he had a customer and headed back to work.

Train:.  Well this one is not so easy, and the photo challenge that was the most intimidating.  But I remembered a train yard that I sometimes pass on my way to work.  I figured on a Saturday morning I might be able to get a photo before anyone told me to leave. So I stopped by, crawled through some brush and hopped over some mud filled ditches.  And there were pieces of trains!

I have to say it was a bit creepy in the train yard and I didn’t go far into it or stay more than a minute or two.

Hood:  I really wanted to find some kid on the streets of the city to photograph…but that was way too scary.  So I settled for me.

Scary enough anyway.

Sprout:  I was planning on scouting out the yard as there are lots of things sprouting in the garden.  But when I got back to the house lunch time was looming and I got motivated by this instead:

It was yummy.

Bud:  Driving through town I noticed that one of my favorite stands to buy annuals was open.  There were lots of buds there, colorful buds, pinks and reds and purples.  But I liked the color of this one.

Basket:  I saw a pretty Easter basket in a store but I had the big camera with me and felt sort of goofy taking a picture right there in the aisle.  And I figured I must have some sort of basket at home.  Of course I did, so I dug it out of the back of a cabinet where it had been long forgotten.  Look how nice the light bounces off it’s woven side.

I think it’s much prettier than the gaudy Easter baskets I was almost sucked into shooting.

Bunny:  Well this is a story.  My husband and I have a tradition of giving each other chocolate Easter bunnies each year.  So I was in a store this morning looking for one to buy him.  And of course one to photograph for this project.  I found an elegant bunny that was extravagantly expensive.  But I figured I’d get two commitments out of one bunny…the photo project and the traditional bunny to the husband thing.

But right after I left the store with my $5.00 rabbit I saw, across the street, this:

…which you have to admit is a BUNNY! Though not as elegant.  But definitely bigger!

Extra credit Cardinal:

Well….Mr. Cardinal has been illusive.  He’s been to the feeder a few times this morning, but he’s a shy one and flies off as soon as I try to get a shot.  There’s the opening of the camera, the turning it on, the setting…it’s all so much more time consuming then the point and shoot.  So you’re going to have to wait a bit for the bonus shot.  But if I ever get it, you’ll be the first to know!






If it's Monday it must be obedience

So we went to week 8 of novice obedience school tonight.  Katie is much more comfortable in class now, as long as those other dogs and all those other people don’t get too close.  She’ll even stand for exam and let strangers touch her as long as I’m at the other end of the leash.

She was perfect on her sits and downs tonight.  We had a substitute teacher who did lots of distracting things.


Like putting a piece of cheese on the floor in front of each dog.  I  knew we were safe there as Katie won’t take treats from anyone but me.  Still, I was proud of her for not moving or even looking at it.  She was staring at me because “The lady was sort of close Mom!”

And on the long downs the lady walked back and forth in front of the dogs squeaking toys and throwing them around.  She walked behind dogs too, which I knew would totally freak Katie out…but the good news is that Katie had scooted back so far there wasn’t any room for the lady to walk behind her…so she sat still as a mouse while the lady marched back and forth in front of her.  Katie never took her eyes off of me.  I guess she knows she’s safe as long as she can see me.  That might be a problem if we ever progress past novice and I have to leave the room during the sits and downs.  But for now as long as we concentrate on each other we’re cool.

I think.



The 5K

This afternoon I participated in a 5K.  I was physically alone, but spiritually with several other people across blog-land.  I first read about a 5K happening at noon on Sunday April 10 over at Gerry’s Torch Lake Views.  I think Robin participated in the 5K too.  A bit later Gerry decided to name her portion of the walk the Don Gould Memorial 5K.  I never met Don, but he seems like he was a great guy.  So on my 5K walk, miles away from the shores of Lake Michigan where Gerry walked, I thought about him, and lots of other great people I’ve known.

Soon enough though I got caught up in my surroundings.  We don’t have a lot of spring color here yet.  In fact things are pretty much the color of mud.

But it was warmer than we’ve had since last summer, and mud isn’t snow.  There were lots of sounds coming from the swamps.  Really loud sounds of peepers and blackbirds.  Funny how you can tell there are a lot of peepers only a few feet from you but you can’t see them!

I had a lovely walk through farmland and woods.

And I found a little bit of color near the end of someone’s driveway.

I’ve long given up on growing crocus in my yard.  Between chipmunks, squirrels and deer they never survive.  But it was nice to see some on my walk.

I think I went a little longer than 5K, along what used to be my favorite route when I was a runner.  I remembered where the mile markers were, but I wasn’t wearing a watch so I don’t know if I was fast or slow.  I suspect slow, but it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I was out on a walk, thinking about people and things and enjoying being out in the fresh air…and even out in the mud.  I think this is as good a time as any to start doing the 30 minutes of exercise every day for 30 days.  I think it’s on my 101 things to do.  So here I go…30 days…30 minutes a day.  Starting now.

Wish me luck!  And thanks Gerry, for motivating me to get out there and do more than my usual mile. I hope you had a wonderful 5K as well.

Even if you DID get rained on.