Monday, May 25, 2015

Well, at least it isn't another damn flower...

I am back among the land of the living, I think.  No blowing my nose every 3 minutes?  Check.  No watery itchy bloodshot  eyes?  Check.  No coughing?  Check.  Yep, almost back to super hero status.  Well not quite yet.  Seriously, this was the worst allergy attack that I have had in 35 years.  It was a little annoying.  No doubt the weather and new plants and the bees all made it a perfect storm, but this was not fun.  I hope that I have attained and can maintain the proper allergy drug filled state so that I can avoid all this.  The almost 2 inches of rain that we received has helped, too.

I am still not 100% and I blame that on the Benadryl, but it was a necessity.  That stuff just makes me sleepy, though I know others who say it keeps them awake.    Whatever, it worked.  I no longer look like the Elephant Man, and looking like that was real possibility.  Bee stings suck.  My finely chiseled jaw line and those cheek bones that make me model-like were in real danger.

My lawn is still not mowed but it was too wet.  All this meant was another day perched on the couch dozing.  Tomorrow I have to be awake  and attentive for 11 straight hours in a very busy day, so no napping then.  I plan to get to bed early and I have drank literally almost a gallon of water today trying to flush all this stuff out of me.  Tomorrow will be fine.  Just hope no one wants to see or check out my (chisled) jawline or cheek bones...

The ferns are growing in my primordial back yard, not far from the horsetails and other ancient plants.  They are kind of cool, and I think that they are photogenic, but I haven't quite figured out how to capture them in a single photograph yet.  As always, click to seem them larger or more bigger.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Who Knew?

That I have spring allergies is pretty well known--there are usually weeks when I either sound like a cartoon character with a stuffed up nose, have a Kleenex glued to my nose, or my eyes look like I smoked a lot of dope.  This year has been worse than usual, but I chalked that up to a new area and new plants.  Friday, though, was a new high (or low) for this.  I can only vaguely remember days like this, before the better allergy drugs.  Like prom night my senior year.  Why her parents let me take their daughter out or for that matter, why she went with me still boggles the mind.  I was a mess.

As I was on Friday.  I had been taking drugs as directed but still, something was in the air, and it wasn't love.  I stumbled and sniffled and blew my way through a very busy day, then bought more and different drugs on my way home.  Nothing helped.  I suffered through the night and tried to be vertical on Saturday.  I almost made it when I ran into the bees or wasps.  I went to move my wheelbarrow and disturbed them and got nailed twice, once just below my eye and one just below my chiseled jaw.

It was apparently more than my challenged immune system could handle because in 20 minutes I had  lumps the size of ping pong balls and they were still growing.  Ahh, Benadryl, sweet Benadryl.  I quickly approached the maximum dose and when I awoke from my Benadryl coma, my face had stopped growing. I still could barely see out one eye and I looked like I had a tennis ball in my mouth, but hey, it might have been an improvement.  I had called the Nurse Hotline and they said I was doing what I should, and as long as I was breathing I didn't need to do anything else.  Maybe they said it a little differently, but that is what I heard.  By this morning I was "normal" though I am still very sensitive to whatever is blooming out there.

So somethings just didn't and aren't getting done.  Mowing, for example, or shoveling and moving dirt.  Or really, anything outside.  Even driving to town made me want to go back into my HEPA controlled house.  Man, I love spring.  I am hoping for a bit of rain to calm things down--there are parades and such to go to.  First I have to wake up from another Benadryl-inspired nap...

Monday, May 18, 2015


These are apple/fruit trees of one kind or another--they are on campus, and worth a photo.  Seriously, I need to move on from blossoms of one kind or another!

Monday, just Monday...

I receive very very few comments about this blog, which is both good and bad.  Good because that limits the negative comments but bad because there isn't a lot of feedback.

Yesterday's post about work was different, as I received five responses, a record number.  One was from someone who I know, the other four were anonymous.  Three were downright nasty, with one raising questions about my orientation or at the minimum, my preferences. I take pictures of flowers and I don't like mindless physical work so I must be gay?  Interesting, but more sad, just really sad.

I work, but I work in a different world.  I told my blacksmith mentor that I like the class because it is completely different than any other thing I do at work.  I seldom get to use a hammer at work, though I sometimes wish I could.  This makes me at best a so-so blacksmith, but I have fun.  When I noted all this to a good friend, they suggested that when I felt like I was struggling in the more physical/spatial world of blacksmithing, I should ask people how they would schedule 200 classes with 70 people, or how they would lecture on post WWI disillusionment.  To each their own strengths and muscles, I guess.

At the risk of more aspersions, here are even more flowers.  The blossoms are less than the size of a dime, and I expect that they will all be in bloom by the time I get home.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Whatever, part II

It is as simple as this:  I am not cut out for manual labor.  I was partially convinced after last week's blacksmith class--I swung (swang?) a two-pound hammer for most of three hours and my arm was spaghetti-like by the end of the evening.  Earlier this week I started on my latest project, one that truly just needs a strong back.  My landlord asked me to fill in  low spot where he had removed a shed.  I calculated that I would need about eight yards of black dirt to accomplish this and the pile of dirt was delivered. I started the other night and today I really attacked it.

Well, I tried.  Though I felt virtuous for the hard work and honest sweat, my four hours of shovel work didn't complete the task.  Notice I said felt and not feel.  The good feeling passes, I think, when you stop and try and do something else, like taking a picture.  These were taken before shoveling because after 20+ wheelbarrows of good black dirt, my arms weren't steady enough for pictures.  What a wimp.

And I am still not done with that _!)@*!@# pile of dirt!  I think I am about 2/3s done with it.  Oh well.  Exercise for another day.  If I keep this up maybe my butt will no longer be the size of Kansas.  I'm aiming for Connecticut...

The photos are of a bush/tree/shrub right in front of my door.  The potential blossoms were about the size of a pea.  The magenta flowers were from another bush/tree/shrub that is also along the house.  The other photo is of more hostas, I think.  If I am getting the identification correct on these, I have 11 different kinds--I felt proud of that diversity until I looked them up and found out that there hundreds of different kinds.  My yard isn't even on any list as some people collect them.  Who knew?

I am done with that work today and have to do other work.  That's ok.  At least I don't usually need a shovel for my normal work.


I don't have much of anything to say, but wanted to post these.  Sone of the photos are from a trip to Ann Arbor (nice place--Zingerman's provided my meals today).  Some are at most sketches.  The picture of the leaves would be a good example of this.  There are two versions, one in color and one in black and white.  The color one in unedited other than a crop for size.  The black and white is considerably more processed.  I am not a huge fan of either, but I like the idea of the hosta leaves.  I might try them again. 

My favortie is the vertical--if you notice, I take far more horizontal photos.  We tend to see things horizontally and it is easier--turning that camera 90 degrees is hard work.  For whatever reasons, that is my favorite sketch of the day.

Life is settling down, I think.  My poor car needed a chunk of love, care, and money this week, but should be ok for a while.  Summer school is going and work is just the normal craziness, not the extraordinary craziness that has been the norm.  I still have 2/3s of a huge pile of dirt to move at home, but that is what you do with a home.  As I approach my one year anniversary here at Kirtland, I pretty certain that I will be here a bit.  That is good, and I needed to make that transition to living and believing that I will be here.  My happiness and state of mind and even my work was affected by being tempted by the siren of and dreams and thoughts of elsewhere.  Grow and bloom where you are planted and all that, eh? I have plenty to do at work and on myself here in Michigan for a bit, so the focus here is needed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring flowers

I was outside working in my yard for a few hours tonight--my lawn has several low spots that become puddles and mosquito love hotels when it rains and I wanted to fill them in and plant some grass.  It was good to work outside, and it was nice realize that I will be out there working again quite soon.  After the rains we have had, I will need to mow within the next few days.

I was struck at how many flowers that are already poking their pretty little heads up.  I know there will be more but I wasn't here at this time of the year last year, so I never saw these spring flowers.  Who knew I had daffodils?  Or these other flower type things?  I scattered $50 worth of other flower seeds so I am hopeful that there will be more, but this is a good start.  I look forward to more.

As always, click to see larger photos...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring, for sure. I think.

It was a beautiful weekend and I was outside a lot.  Yesterday was the area's first big outdoor auction, and I was there for about six hours, waiting for those timeless treasures.  Actually the last thing I bought was a chair for my newly cleaned gazebo, but more about that later.  The auction was OK.  No real things of great value but enough interesting things throughout that it kept your attention.

Today I hired two teenage boys to clean up the lawn/gardens of casa de Tetzloff.  There were just a lot of leaves and it kept the two of them busy for almost four hours.  I did my part and raked almost that long. It was well worth the investment, as they probably hauled 30+ tarps full of leaves  to the pile.  It will never be a leaf-free zone, but it looks a lot better.  I also cleaned up my gazebo and hopefully discouraged the spiders and other creatures from being too settled in their abode.

So I am tired.  I am telling you, this life of a homesteading pioneer is tough.  I raked, I cleaned, I churned butter--you know, all this normal things that  people in the North Woods do. Yes, you did read that correctly:  I did churn and make butter tonight.  One of the treasures I found yesterday was a Daisy butter churn--who knew I needed one?  So I tried it out and made butter. It seemed to turn out.  It was yellow, it was good on toast (once I added salt--man, who eats unsalted butter?  Yuk) and it was kind of fun.

I am no doubt a renaissance man of sorts.  While I am not quite a useful fellow, the highest praise my Dad could ever bestow on someone, I am broadening by skill set, even beyond the butter making.  I am taking a blacksmith class this spring, too.  So far I have made a fireplace set with a poker and a shovel and a chicken picker.  Yep, if the apocalypse comes, I can supply the new world with really really primitive utensils.  Who knows?  This new skill might save my life.  At the least I have butter to put on the burns from the forge.  Or, if the retirement savings don't add up, I could sell chicken pickers on Ebay and fireplace tools with candles and potatoes at a roadside stand near my land up north.

Though if I am going to do all of this, I have to learn to make wine.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I woke up this morning to find my house without power.  It was an absolutely beautiful night and day, so I am not so sure what was going on, but none-the-less, there were no lights anywhere in the neighborhood.  I was in desperate need of coffee, so I took a cold-ish shower and wandered into town at about 6:30.  Along the way, I discovered that you don't really need power at all if you are willing to just stop and metaphorically "smell the roses."  Or slow down and watch the sunrise.

Speaking of roses, I I have been playing with some older lenses. Both of them are way older than me so you should know they are OLD!  Interesting to do this now and then.  In this day of high resolution HDR and retina screens, I find it amazing that they made lenses that were designed to be intentionally not sharp.  I clearly don't know the best way to use them, but it is fun to try.  They took a long time to take--they are fussy lenses to use.  The sharp photo I took in about 20 seconds and posted on tumblr (tetzlojm) within a minute or two of taking it.  Photography is all about contrasts, I guess

Monday, April 6, 2015

Odds and ends...

Obviously I haven't posted for a while, but I have been taking some (very few) photos.  Some of these are older, as I finally got some film developed this past weekend.  Most are self explanatory. They are just pretty (sort of) pictures.