Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The adventure continues

When last I left you I was settling into my campsite, grateful for a loaner tent because I forgot the rainfly that belongs to my tent. And it was raining.

My site, on the river.

Now I like the sound of a light rain on the roof of my tent. It’s a soothing sound that will lull you to sleep.

The sky didn’t look promising on my drive to the refuge the next morning.

But when the wind rises and the rain comes harder you’re pretty sure to wake up. And in the darkness, when you realize your sheets are damp, and you start feeling around to figure out the source of the water and you figure out there’s quite a bit of water on the floor along the edge of the tent, well, you start to worry.

At the refuge the sun kept trying to come out.

And as the wind increased and the rain pounded down harder you start rethinking this whole adventure thing. And you start thinking back on all the tent adventures you’ve had this summer and how every single one got cut short due to torrential rain.

Drama everywhere you looked.

Maybe all those people that advise staying in a hotel have a point.

When the rain slowed I ran to the car and grabbed some towels, then dove back into the tent to mop up the mess. I settled back in bed. Then splat! Water dripped on my face. Then another drop. And another.

I saw more wildlife this time around.

That’s it. I grabbed my pillows and a blanket and high-tailed it for the car where I slept the last five hours of the night nice and safe and warm and dry.

This was as close as I got to any wildlife. This is a swan butt.

I had planned on getting up at 6 a.m. so that I could be over at the Seney Wildlife Refuge by 7, because sunrise was 7:30 and I figured there’d be more animal and bird activity at sunrise. I turned off the alarm when it went off.

Even without many birds there were still pretty places to shoot.

Still…I’d hate to miss anything over at the refuge. And it wasn’t raining, though it didn’t look like it was going to be a sunny day either. So reluctantly I got up, stretched, threw the pillows and blanket in the back of the car and drove the couple of miles over to the refuge.

Mostly I focused on the clouds and sky. Do you see the two sandhill cranes up there?

And, as you saw in yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday, I was treated to the most beautiful full, Harvest Moon setting over the water of the Seney Wildlife Refuge. It was going down just as I got there, and I raced to a place to park and stood there grinning while it sank gracefully into the next day.

In case you missed yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post.

That alone made sleeping in a wet tent and then the car worth it.

The sun came out long enough to light up the cattails.

The pictures in this post are others I took on Tuesday as I drove around the 7 mile wildlife loop. There was more bird action, but in total not a lot. I decided I’d just enjoy the dramatic skies and hope I saw some wildlife.

Though most of the day could have been shot in black and white, there was some color around.

And I enjoyed every bit of it. I hope you do too.

But that was only the morning…stay tuned.


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And then…

My adventuring continues into the Upper Peninsualia of Michigan where I intended to spend a few days exploring the Seney Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge is a giant wetland, with lots of water and grasses.

Years ago when I lived in the UP I always thought I’d visit, but you know how it is when you live near somewhere cool. You always figure you can do it next week, and next week never comes around.

I couldn’t find an eagle’s nest

Late Sunday afternoon I drove the seven mile wildlife drive under pretty skies. I had the big lens on the camera, expecting to see lots of birds. But all I saw was a pair of sandhill cranes flying and a couple of ducks. I didn’t even hear much of anything.

I heard them before I saw them.

One issue I can see with driving a wildlife route rather than walking, is you’re never going to sneak up on anything. Though to be honest I didn’t even scare up anything.

These are the same two cranes that flew by.

But the trees and water were pretty, so I decided to switch lenses and just enjoy what there was to enjoy.

Light through dying ferns.

The refuge is beautiful, but I wondered what I’d do for four nights camping nearby. I decided to worry about that when I got there.

Meanwhile, I had a reservation at the Pleasant Moose Lodge for one night while I waited for my campsite to be available. I was tired by now, driving up from downstate, then exploring the refuge. I was ready to find the hotel.

But darn it, neither my GPS in the car nor on my phone could find this pleasant moose. I drove up and down the road looking, and saw plenty of places with moose art displayed, but all I saw whenever I was told “you have arrived at your destination,” was a decrepit rundown set of cabins. No way. It was getting on toward evening now and I was going to have to find somewhere to stay if these cabins were really the lodge!

Guess I didn’t notice this big green moose when I was driving by.

So I pulled into a parking lot called the Pleasant Moose and a pleasant guy answered the phone and talked me in.

Whew!

Imagine my relief when I saw it was a real hotel, just tucked way back behind some other stuff. I spent an uneventful evening, enjoying my last night of a real bed, shower and television before heading out to camp for 4 nights.

The next morning I needed to find something to do while I waited to check into my campground. I remembered seeing pictures of Crisp Point Lighthouse that was somewhere around here. Checking the map, and putting it into my GPS I set off. It was about 20+ miles away, but GPS said it would take me an hour.

The trees are beginning to turn up here.

What GPS didn’t tell me is that more than 15 miles of the trip will be on increasingly narrower dirt and sandy roads.

More narrow, and sandier.

Roads that wind up and down and around. My average speed on the last 15 miles was 14. The last 7 miles it was closesr to 8 mph. I couldn’t believe it when, with only 5 more miles to go there was actually a stop sign.

Seriously? Is there an intersection coming up?

But all that crazy driving was worth it to find this.

My first glimpse of Crisp Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is absoutely beautiful. And yes you can go up to the top for a donation.

As I wandered the beach the clouds moved in.

The beach is equally beautiful.

Nobody can resist these rocks!

It’s strewn with wide swaths of smooth, rounded stones. A rock picker’s paradise.

The water was too cold to go wading after these beauties.

I kept telling myself not to pick up any rocks. Not to even look closely at any rocks. I have plenty at home.

I had to touch. They were so smooth, this one reminded me of an granite egg.

But they were soooo beautiful!

I was also facinated by what I guess was an old wooden breakwall.

I love how the sun made it glow.

It was actually two rows of logs driven into the ground.

Engineering from a generation ago.

Eventually I walked back up to the lighthouse and checked out what was on the other side. The light was better over there anyway.

People were picking rocks….

The beach was sandier with fewer rocks on that side.

…and climbing the tower.

A lighthouse selfie.

It was beautiful out there! But it was time to head back down that winding, sandy road.

Quintessential beach photo.

The trip back out to the main road wasn’t nearly as scary as it had been driving in.

I enjoyed the leaves on my way back and didn’t worry about the road as much.

My campsite was waiting for me.

When I arrived the office was closed, but they had taped instructions for me to the door. I gathered those and drove to my site, a big, grassy relatively flat spot with a view of the river. I pulled the tent out of the car and realized as I was unfolding it that the rainfly was missing. And it was beginning to rain.

OH MY! What to do.

Obviously I couldn’t tent without a rainfly. Especially since it was already raining. Disgusted I threw the tent back in the car, went up to the office, put the rest of my reservation money folded into their instructions, along with an explantion note, and taped it to the door.

Then I drove back toward town, intent on calling the Pleasant Moose to see if they had a room. But a few miles away I thought I should call the campground and tell them there was money taped to their office door, wanting to make sure they got it rather than some nefarious camper.

The owner answered, and I explained and she was as sad as I was. Then she said she had a tent I could borrower! Really! Yes, she said, it’s just a 4 person tent, nothing fancy. That’s all I had myself, I replied. She said she’d go set it up on my site if I’d come back.

So I did. And this is what I found:

Isn’t this cute?

This campground comes with a mascot.

He waited around to make sure I was OK, then he went off on his rounds.

So….here I am camping in the UP in someone else’s tent, ready to visit a refuge I’ve already explored.

What will happen next?


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Adventuring

I’m off adventuring again. Mostly alone, though I did spend a day on a river with a college friend. But first, as most of my adventures go, I began with barns.

Because it’s hard to drive anywhere from my home without seeing at least one barn.

I was hoping to find yellow soybean fields, but mostly they’ve already gone brown. That was sad, but it was such a pretty day I couldn’t stay sad for long.

And eventually I made it to the river where I met a friend from way back in college, and she and her daughter and I paddled in the warm fall sunshine for a few hours.

It was totally unlike my previous times on this river when we had most of it to ourselves.

This time we were out on the river on a sunny fall weekend afternoon. There were lots of other people there too.

But we managed to make our way through the crowds of tube floaters and enjoyed people watching while we were paddling.

An interesting combination, a totally different vibe, but lots of fun regardless.

After we left the river we drove a few miles north to walk the Empire Bluffs trail. Turns out Empire was having some sort of car race. The little town was inundated with people and race cars.

It took us a long time to find a way to get to the trail, but once we did we enjoyed the scenic walk out to the bluffs.

It was late in the afternoon by the time we arrived at the end of the trail, and we didn’t linger out there for long, but it was definitely worth the walk!

On the way back I got distracted by the low rays of sun glowing in the woods, spotlighting plants along the way.

We had a little bit of a drive to get to the hotel, though, so we moved along.

And then had dinner at The Painted Lady Saloon.

It was a pretty darn good day, and it definitely made me smile.


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Little smiles

Changing gears from the previous two posts…

…how about we just look at the frolicing going on in my backyard.


I know you’ve all seen my birds and others before.

But these are brand new images Promise.

I should try to learn how to do a slideshow in this new blockhead format.

But I don’t have time or patience.

So you only get a few.

But they made you smile, didn’t they.


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Chills

Yesterday, the 20th anniverary of September 11th, I was reading blogs and putting together my own thoughts. By chance I read My OBT (One Best Thing), written by Donna, who posts one thing each day that she finds beautiful.

I confess I don’t read her blog every day, but if the title catches my attention I will.

The title of her post yesterday was “Homecoming” and it was essentially a link to a post written in 2019 by John Fox, a New York City Police Transit Chief, describing the homecoming of his nephew, firefighter Michael Roberts, who was killed on that fateful day.

I read Chief Fox’s account of the way Michael’s body was found on the day before his memorial service, and how the firefighter community brought him home. It’s a heartwarming, heart wrenching piece.

Then I finished up my own post, struggling with the words, realizing that I had nothing more profound to say, and linking back to my own post about a visit we made to the Memorial and the Freedom Tower five years ago. While I was linking to that old post I flipped through it’s images.

And suddenly stopped breathing.

Because there, in my photos, images taken years ago, was Michael Roberts.

Maybe there was more than one Michael Roberts killed that day. But I choose to believe that the Michael Roberts I photographed that hot July day back in 2016 is the same Michael Roberts I read about on the 20th anniversary of his death.

And somehow, even in the midst of sadness I had to smile.

Edit: I did some research on Michael Roberts the rookie firefighter that died on September 11. His middle name was Edward. He was born July 15, the day we were at the memorial. Hence the white rose. This was definitely the same young man I read about yesterday.


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No new words

On a day like today, September 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks on our country that killed so many innocents, you want to have something profound to say. Something that touches your readers, helps them process their own memories. Makes someone think. Provides hope.

But I find that I have no new words, and while in search of something to say I remembered my last visit to New York City when we visited the Freedom Tower.

So I invite you to click on this link which will take you back to a post written in 2016. My feelings about this place are still the same.

If you ever have the chance to visit NYC, please make time to spend at least a half day at the Freedom Tower. As our guide said back then, visiting is a sign of respect.

And couldn’t we all try a little harder to spread some respect these days.


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Reigning in the tomato princess

Katie here.

So, you saw mama’s Wordless Wednesday post yesterday with the cherry tomatoes? Yea. I did too. But I bet you didn’t know how much I love tomatoes. I watched daddy plant a bunch of tomatos in my back yard last spring.

Yum.

Yep. I know exactly where that garden is and I check it out daily. Several times a day if I can get away with it. Daddy says he put the fence up around it to keep out critters like deer and raccoons and rabbits and groundhogs and stuff.

But I know the truth. Daddy put that fence up cause of me!

You can’t see me if I hide behind this plant. Right?

I like to pick my own ripe tomatoe right off the vine. Every day I pull mama or daddy around the back side of our house when I’m supposed to be looking for a good spot to do my business. They used to be fooled, thinking I just wanted to pee in a new part of the yard.

But they’re not fooled any more. (Sometimes they are smarter than I calculated.)

They’re hoarding all the good stuff!

Mama looked up whether tomatoes were good for doggies and she found out that green ones were very bad and red ones were OK in moderation.

Moderation? I’m a sheltie. I don’t do anything in moderation!

I think daddy needs my help in the garden, mama!

Anyway, they say I can’t have any tomatoes because I’m having trouble with my tummy and my poo. I told them they are way too interested in my poo. They should get another hobby if you ask me.

Shhhhh…don’t tell them.

So I’m a sad puppy. I’m stuck here eating canned pumpkin and boiled chicken and rice and the Royal Canin kibble. I like all that stuff a whole lot (and my folks are relieved I’ve got my appitite back) but none of it is the same as a fresh cherry tomato picked right off the vine by yours truly.

Do any of you other doggies out there love tomatoes like me? Mama says I’m a weird little girl.

I’ll take that as a compliment.

Giving mama the stink eye cause she said “NO” when I tried to eat one!