Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Smiles can come from the smallest things

Trent coordinates a weekly smile post over at his blog, inviting us all to find at least one thing each week that made us smile, and then share it with all of you.

Nice concept, don’t you think?

I’ve been out walking a lot and this little bit of nature made me smile a whole lot…

A bit of green in early April always makes me smile.

…because it felt like spring.

What made you smile this week? Share with us! Cause it’s going to snow here soon and I’m pretty sure we could all use a smile.


Stress relief

Stress seems to be hovering over me like that dark cloud that follows cartoon characters.  Between Katie’s surgery and her cone of shame, my shoulder which is requiring physical therapy three times a week, and our Aunt’s move to a nursing home, it feels like the days are filled with concerns and difficult decisions.



Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming.

I don’t remembered even noticing the sky the past few weeks, but as I left the house yesterday  the clouds struck me as kind of pretty.  The weather was changing fast, the wind blowing the clouds around and the sun popping out for brief moments of brilliant light which moved like a spotlight across the yard.

Grabbing my camera I knew I didn’t have time to go far before the sky would be totally cloud covered and we’d be sunk once again into the grey that is often  a Michigan December afternoon.  I headed toward the closest wide open country around here, not sure what I’d find, but hopeful.

And I was right.  Barns, clouds, fields, all pretty in the changing light.



I haven’t been on a barn hunt in months….maybe even a year.  It seems fitting that I get one more mini adventure in this year and that it revolve around barns.


And a church.



I was only out there an hour, and the weight of the camera made my shoulder ache, but it was wonderful.  Recent problems fell away and it was just me chasing the light through crisp air and skies filled with heavy navy clouds.

I guess it’s worth remembering to do something you love as often as possible.  It helps to deal with all the other stuff if you give yourself a break now and then.



Happy New Year everybody!  May we all work through the problems that will inevitably come along, and may we balance those out with moments of pure joy doing the things that make us happiest.






Searching for the ends of the earth

The ends of the earth at Point Pelee in Canada.

Karma continues to challenge us with photo hunts.  She gave us extra time to find our own personal ‘ends of the earth’ and it’s a good thing she did because here I am coming in at the last second with my choices. (Make sure you click on the photos to get a better view.)

The inspiration for this hunt came from our trip to Point Pelee in Canada earlier this summer.  Point Pelee is a piece of land jutting out into Lake Ontario.  From the sky it looks like a sharp edged triangle but when you’re there it feels like a very small version of Cape Horn, South America, with waves come toward it from two directions.

While we were in Canada we also visited a more famous location – Niagara Falls – where I had another ‘ends of the earth’ experience as we stood just at the edge of the falls, looking down at the Maid of the Mist tourist boat.

The ends of the earth at Niagara Falls.

Traveling to another Great Lake two years ago we explored Lake Huron, and at one point walked through tall marsh grass, our feet getting more and more wet as we got closer to the lake.

Looking for the ends of the earth.

It was easier going at Tawas Point State Park where the ends of the earth was more evident.

The very ends of the earth at Tawas.

But since Karma’s challenge I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for some ends of the earth photo opportunities closer to home.  It wasn’t easy without being near a large body of water.

You can see the ends of the earth just past that last stand of trees.

Or maybe the ends of the earth are even closer to home.  Maybe right down at the end of our road?

Can you get to the ends of the earth from here?

But in the end I felt like I needed to find the ends of the earth in Northern Michigan, on my favorite lake, Lake Michigan.  We gazed out over the lake from a platform built above the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

Extending the ends of the earth just a bit further.

And we traveled up to the very tip of Michigan’s little finger, the Leelanau Peninsula, to see the very ends of the earth, where someone had perfectly expressed my feelings about this part of the country.

I heart Lake Michigan.

I could go on and on talking about very special places where a person can experience beautiful ends of the earth.  But it’s getting late and Karma’s deadline looms.  Thank you once again Karma, for keeping me observant.  And for giving me another excuse to travel, always on the lookout for something special to capture.

Can’t wait for next time!


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!



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!






Food photography

I’ve been trying, really trying, to photograph food.  You’d think it would be easier than photographing a moving object….say a sheltie or something.  But in reality I’m finding it much more difficult.  Here are the best photos I’ve taken so far…but I have a long way to go!

My first idea was to use ice cream.  Why?  Because I love ice cream, and I had this interesting plate…and it should go beautifully…right?

Well.  Not so much.  Ice cream melts, I didn’t have the right lighting…and though I liked the reflection of the ice in the plate it just didn’t work.  So I moved on.

Then I made some soup.  Soup doesn’t melt…should go beautifully…right?

Well…I didn’t have the right light…the chunkier parts of the soup sank, so I added some red bell pepper for color..but still…I moved on.

In my fridge was a beautiful head of cabbage.  I thought the colors in the leaves were wonderful.  Cabbage is food…right?

But is this food photography?

I wandered into the grocery store…and fell in love with more vegetables.

Have you noticed how they arrange produce in store lately?  It’s just so beautiful, like artwork.

Have you ever seen orange beets?

Or noticed water droplets on the purple cabbage?

But is this food photography?

What about the farmer’s market…

…do you see the purple green beans?

And don’t you miss the fruit of summer?

But really…back to food photography.

Finally I made a cake just to see if I could photograph it.  Sometime I’ll show you the whole cake baking event.  It took me most of the day.

But for now…because this is getting more than long enough…here’s the cake.

I’m still struggling with the lighting..but I suppose this is more what food photography is supposed to be about…because this one makes me want to stop writing and go have a piece.  A big piece.