Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Almost Thanksgiving

We had snow last night--go figure.  It was the kind of snow that is picturesque.  Certainly these photos don't capture the majesty of it all as men and technology just lack the ability to even come close.  Still, these photos give a glimpse of my wintery world.

It is almost Thanksgiving and people have been asking me what I am going to do.  I think of traveling and then I remember that the last time I traveled they closed the UP of Michigan, a place that seriously understands and copes with winter.  So I am not that thrilled with the prospect of 1500 miles of potential winter driving conditions.

I will probably stay close to home for most of the weekend.  To mark perhaps the high point of what might positively be called a "quiet life," I am excited that I am getting four new fonts of type today in the mail.  I guess in my life, nothing says excitement like "let's sort type!"    I can work on my visual acuity and practice my alphabet skills with big and little letters!  Whee!!!  I will mind my p's and q's though honestly I have more trouble with the b's and d's.

As for eating, I seldom go hungry but I will make an effort.  Hunters around me have offered bits of beasts of one kind or another to roast.  But I have been a successful hunter, too.  Don't mice count?  I have bagged a handful of the little _(!@$*)!@# in the past few days, almost enough for a mouse moose, or however you spell it.  A pie?  How long do you roast the little devils?  Mouse mignon?  Rodent ratatouille?

Nah, I will pass.  I will probably carefully brine some chicken wings, make some tater tots, and call it a meal. OK, I might aim a bit higher than that.  There is no KFC near here, so I will have to cook something. I promise it won't be something that you get at the only gas station in town, though I did see that they upgraded their wiener roaster and added new varieties…

I will in the end roast a chicken, make dressing and all that.  And shovel.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Tonight was the Eight Annual Faculty-Student Bowling Tournament, and I was a proud member of the "I don't give a split so spare me" team from academic administration.  Consisting of two VPs, a dean, and two spouses, we did moderately awful.  I think it is safe to say that we were hired for skills beyond our bowling talents.  Or at least I hope so.  It was fun, and since it was for the students, it was worth the humiliation.  I averaged almost 103 per game, so I am pretty much ready for the pro circuit!  Well, maybe I will practice a bit more.

The sunset is from the trip down to West Branch which east of most places.  It is a 40 minute drive to the big bowling alley.  The one on town has four lanes.   Tomorrow it is suppose to be in the high 30s and rain, so who knows what fall will bring us for the holiday week.

PS:  Tbe birds pictured in a previous post were American Gold Finches.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter--it's for the birds

Winter has struck and it seems to be staying around for a bit.  Probably only for 5-6 months, but it will be here for a while.  I have about 8-10 inches of snow on my house, but our campus center "up North," only 40 miles away has almost 30 inches and that will increase tonight as they are predicted to get 5-7 more.

While some around here seemed non-plussed by all of this, I am a bit nervous.  It is the middle of November and we are all OK with this?  We should fight!!!  Protest!!!  Rail agains the Man!  Or whatever it takes to lodge our protest agains this much snow so early.

My office has a window which is nice.  It does let a bit of light in during our 20 minutes or so of daylight, but it also let's me look out on the world.  I have seen turkeys out of it.  Man, that is a great line…some even had feathers!  Right now I can see the bird feeder right hanging right outside of it.  It is a busy place, the water fountain of the bird office world.  Birds flock (ha ha) to it, flitting and flying around.  It is almost like having an aquarium to watch though there are no fish or water or, well, an aquarium.  But otherwise that feeder is just like an aquarium.

I have to admit that this is only the third time that this blog has posted a picture of a bird.  There was an eagle once, and an osprey and a woodpecker another time and the predictable phot of the Kirtland warbler..  These aren't quite as majestic as they were just little things.  The males, of course, were better looking, but they were all pretty cute.  I will not venture a guess as to what kind of a bird thingy it is as I am certain one of the four or five people who actually read this blog will tell me what these were.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Important notice for all mice and other residents at 5554 N. Reserve Rd



It has come to the management's attention that there has been cavorting going on in this house.  This carrying on and the attempts to procreate (and any practicing)  must cease immediately.  I understand togetherness and all that and how it is lonely in Northern Michigan and  that the nights are cold and long and that you long for companionship but making an Amazon box into a love shack is just too much.   Playing house?  Really.  And those packing peanuts that you shredded?  Do you know what is in them?   No more canoodling, snuggling, cuddling, smooching, stroking, nuzzling, doing it, or even holding paws/feet/hands/tails in this house.  IT IS FORBIDDEN!!!

Of course, like all punishments, this will hurt and affect me far more than it will you. As a good leader, I (obviously)  lead by example, so I, too, will (continue to) refrain from canoodling, snuggling, cuddling, smooching, stroking, nuzzling, doing it, or even holding paws/feet/hands/tails in this house.

This edict is in place, unfortunately, for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The never-ending, lingering, not quite done yet war….

Roscommon, oh dark, oh dark night…

I am awakened by the sound of scrambling feet, small feet, tiny paws, as they scramble across the battlefield.  So attuned to their noise and the destruction and havoc that these tiny feet (or are they paws?  I pause to think.  I wonder if Wikipedia has that answer) can bring that I stay from slumber in hope of bringing the battle to them.

Alas, it is not possible.  I cannot seem to end this war without end, this everlasting battle.  I thought I was victorious.  Traps have been empty and there have been no sightings or visible signs of their existence.  I prayed.  I hoped.  But that was in vain.  The battle continues.

Instead I find the enemy just going underground and becoming sneaky little shits.  Speaking of that, that is part of the evidence that they continue this fight.  Today I saw this in an unlikely place.  I have a sugar bowl with natural organic squeezed by hand and dried naturally cane sugar.  A soldier's life is hard, and I have but one luxury, a small taste of this natural organic sugar for my tea.  As I dumped my first teaspoon into my tea I noticed how "organic" the sugar was.  The sugar was nothing but a minefield of mouse turds.  I think that was just from last night when a daring rebel raid did this.  I kind of hope it was just last night.  I drank a lot of tea yesterday.  Not so much tea today…  Now those sugar crazed hyena-like mice laugh at me in the night.  They laugh!!!

Other evidence shows that the fight will be for the long haul.  I did laundry for my bivouac last week but the tasks of leadership kept me from immediately folding it.  When I returned to that task yesterday and began folding my exquisite 600+ thread count Egyptian natural organic cotton sheets (my other luxury besides the sugar) I discovered the rebel stores.  More than 50 acorns fell from their folds.  They used my clean sheets as a storage depot!  As I emptied the basket of my dainties, I found that they also stored countless more nuts in my luxurious 12 thread count underwear, a fact both ironic and disturbing.  Damn them.  DAMN THEM!

They laugh.  They plot, but I am king of this castle!  I have a checkbook!  I have the directions to a hardware store.  I will fight on!  Beware, mouse friends.  I pledge eternal vigilance and more sticky traps.  Beware of anything that smells like peanut butter or cheetos!

And stay out of my sheets.

Monday, October 27, 2014

End of fall morning

This morning was in the very low 30s, and on the way to work in the middle of thunder and lightning of a late late late late late late summer thunderstorm, my car was pelted with not so liquid rain.  It is October and it is illegal even in Northern Lower Michigan to mention that one word term for non-liquid rain this early in the year.

Snow.  There I said it.  And more flurries scheduled for later in the week.    But the sky was remarkable as this storm front moved through.  Blue, black, and countless other colors provided the background for leaf-less naked (leaves-less?)  trees.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


You know what?  It was just a nice day.  I was out of bed by about, oh, 8:30 which was a luxury.  I made tea and read the New York Times and then did chores.  I can even see my table!  I went to "town" to have breakfast and coffee and it was good.  I grocery shopped and even bought healthy stuff.  Once home I raked for an hour and then mowed/mulched and took care of at least 10% of the leaves around this place.  For dinner I had a perfect grilled cheese sandwich made with a good English cheddar  and a wine that was far too good for such simple food.  And now I am sorting type.

To top it off, I received a press in the mail.  I bought it on Ebay a while ago, but it had a long journey from England before it finally made it to me.  I know I am a total geek and it is weird that someone would say a press is cute, but this one is cute.  It is made to print Victorian Era calling cards and you can see from the photo that is tiny.  It is at best 9-10 inches long and it requires half-heighth type which of course is not available.  I don't care.  It looks great on a table or perhaps, even on a key chain.  OK, it isn't that small but it is petite.

It was a stunning day weather-wise as well.  It was in the low 60s and while windy, very pleasant--a perfect fall day.  There is still some color but you have to look for it.  I think of my earlier photos when I had to look for one or a few leaves to photograph.  Then I had but to turn slightly to see and   photograph millions of red, yellow, and orange leaves.  Now, fall wanes, and you have to look for straggling leaves that are still hanging on.

It isn't that leaves are less pretty when they are sparse.  Finding a branch with what one poet called an "arm of flame" is still possible.  Perhaps, finding such a block of color still on the tree is even more striking--certainly we treasure what is rare.

I just like pretty leaves.

As always, click on the photo to make them bigger.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It was a very foggy morning--30 degrees and lots of wet ground from a few weeks of rain made it so.  Pictured here is beautiful downtown Roscommon.  The first shot is the fine clothier/haberdashery in town, also known as St Vincent DePaul,  and the other shot is of the train tracks, our public transport for hobos and other adventurous types.  Interesting about the train tracks--we don't have many trains running through, but if you happen to be in Fred's, our fine-dining supper club, when a train does go through town, they give you a shot.  Yep, a waiter/waitress walks through with a tray of shots.  Apparently it is to calm you from the excitement of a train rumbling by.  Hey, it doesn't happen too often and we do celebrate signs of progress here.

The other shots are from the College--it really is a beautiful campus.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


OK, I am getting tired of pretty leaves, mainly because they are seemingly all coming to my yard to spend the winter.  But  they are pretty...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More fall

It is still fall and amazing pretty leaf season here in northern upper lower Michigan.  It is amazing--the bright yellow of the birch trees, the orange of the maples, and now, the oak trees with their deeper reds and oranges are chiming into this cacophony of color.  I took a 20 minute walk and found these photos and this color.  I know, it's getting boring but this is what I have to photograph here in northern upper lower Michigan.

Friday, October 17, 2014

press time...

I have been on the look out for more orphan presses and I have found a few in the past few weeks.  When I was in Arizona, I found a Speedball linoleum press.  It was cast iron and probably from the 1940s.  The price was very good, so good I ignored the problem that I bought a press that weighed 35 pounds while being  2,000 miles away from home.  Let's just say the counter clerk at the airport was a bit surprised at the weight of my checked bag!

Tonight I bought another press, my biggest press to date.  On the "press platform" from the left you have a 4x6 Sigwalt Ideal #3 from about 1920.  Next is my new press, the Kelsey Excelsior 6x10 press which is from 1954.  The red press is an Adana 6x4 press from 1936.  The small press is a Sigwalt #10, a 2x3 press from the 1950s.  I have two other of these small Sigwalts from the 1920s but other than being all black, they are exactly the same. And another Ideal #3.  And probably some others, but who is counting?

I am getting close to done.  It is a party.  It is a family.  I would like a 5x8 press and a 3x5, but since I haven't exactly "wore out" these presses, I think I can be patient.  Oh, I want a sign/proof press.  But presses don't a printer make!  I did get some more type today with the big press, but rather than be nicely sorted in drawers, the nice person took it out of the type cases and put it Ziploc bags to make it easier to carry.  16 fonts of type in baggies.  My eyes hurt already.  I also bought paper today, and more ink, and I have exhausted any excuses to not print more.

After I sort some type, of course.

But if you do see any other orphan presses, the home still has some room...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More of more

It was a great day for a drive, complete with dramatic light.  I took my very first rainbow photos--that surprises me, but since I (oddly) remember most photos I have taken, I am pretty sure that I have never taken a photo of a rainbow.  It isn't like I have never seen one, or I never have a camera with me.  I just haven't taken a picture of one.  The sunset is over Lake Michigan.  Again, no Photoshop was involved, just dark dark clouds and a pretty good sunset.