Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Long and Brutal Winter of 2013-2014

This winter, according to the history of the weather department, was the longest, coldest and snowiest winter since a similar winter in the late 70's. The bad part was the amount of energy it took to heat homes not to mention the long cold gray days. We were thankful every day for our extremely efficient and economical geothermal heating system but people who had to rely on propane saw their fuel bills escalate and propane companies were unable to fill peoples' tanks more than half way at a time due to lack of supply and huge demands.

My previous post goes back to November 2013 when all this began. Today is Saturday, May 10, 2014 - nearly 6 months later. There is still a bit of ice left on the Great Lakes and we still have a small patch of snow left in our backyard with a little more in the woods. All totaled our area of northern MI recorded a bit over 14' of snowfall. Even as it compressed we still had no less than 4' of snow on the ground at any given time.  Doug spent much of the winter doing this. . .

Toward the end of winter he bought himself this (pic. below) and decided he really liked all this cold and the solidly frozen lakes.  This is called an ice boat and is powered under sail and wind only. These things can get up to 45-50 mph and the sailing is COLD as the sailor is sitting right out there in the wind. Doug's is a one person boat so I haven't had a chance to try this yet.  Now that the lakes are nearly thawed the ice boat is hanging from the rafters in the garage alongside the canoe which will probably be coming down soon - if the weather ever warms up and if it ever quits raining.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Are you ready for winter?", my husband, Doug, asked. . .

When the weather outside is frightful a fire is so delightful :D

We've had bits of snow, sleet, rain, hail, temps in the 20's and temps in the 60's, gray skies and brilliant sunshine with blue skies textured with clouds over the past two weeks. Today we awoke to a gentle but steady snowfall, soft gray skies and 30 degrees.  For the first time this season the snow is sticking, laying down gently on the trees frosting them in crystal.

Since I am just now recovering from a bit of a flu bug that attacked me while I slept one night earlier this week I'm in no hurry to venture out. Therefore . . .

. . . while this is going on outside

. . . this is what I'm doing inside

and this is what the Critter Kids are doing :D

Daisy (brown), Molly (black) and Oliver kitty napping on the couch while Ayla (below) enjoys the really big blankie on the floor all by herself. 

And where, you might ask, is Doug while all this relaxation at home is going on? He is at the marina on West Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City (Michigan), helping the sailing crew of which he a member prepare the Tall Ship Madeline as well as the other ships owned by the Maritime Heritage Alliance for their long winter's sleep.  The smaller boats are out of the water at this time - the Madeline remains in the water covered in a blanket of shrink wrap -   all will receive plenty of TLC in preparation for next summer's sailing adventures. If you look at the albums (Tall Ship Madeline) Doug crewed on the Bay City 2013 sail. 

It's only been about 6-7 weeks since those beautiful warm final days of sailing to the snows of today.  Perhaps we'll have a short winter this year? :D

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Brief Return to Arizona: Part 4

Monday 02/11/13

Today I seriously challenged myself. My friend Barb, with whom I bunked during this vacation, and I drove to Michelle's house in north Phoenix. Brian, Michelle, Barb and I then went to the climbing "gym" where Brian and Michelle climb a couple of times a week. I really wasn't planning to climb - just watch. However, the kids had different ideas and so up I went.

Brian is explaining the roping system to me.

Brian is on belay and I'm going up . . . 
. . . and up . . . 
The wall is 32' high.  My hands are about 6' from the top. Michelle is above me taking the pic.

Coming down (rappel).
Brian climbing the chimney.

      Brian climbing with Michelle on belay.

     Michelle climbing (I missed the climb but got her rappel) with Brian on belay.

A Brief Return to Arizona: Part 3

Sunday, 02/10/13

The Hieroglyphic Trail, Superstition Mountains

Mark (youngest son), Taylor, Andrew (grands:) with their two dogs, Sargent and Keesha. Brian (oldest son) and Michelle (Brian's girlfriend:) with two of their three dogs, Gracie  and Shadow.  The weather was gorgeous: 55°F for a high with beautiful golden sunshine, clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds.  The day could not have been better.


Stream as snowmelt coming off the top and forming a pool.


Mark and Keesha with Taylor in beackground

Brian with Mark and Andrew in background

Just a small portion of the hieroglyphics. 

Superstition Mountains


Andrew (orange), Mark (gray)

The grands are taller than grandma with Mark in background as the goof :D

A Brief Return to Arizona: Part 2

Saturday, 02/09/13

Mark took us to the Renaissance Festival today.  The festival is now in its 25th year and has always been held just off Hwy 60 east of Gold Canyon, AZ.

Taylor and Andrew
Taylor and Andrew riding an elephant
Taylor's tail. :D

Taylor looking very cool with her new hair swirly. 

Mark wearing his horns (which he did not buy:)

Andrew relaxing.
After the festival we met up with my oldest son Brian and his girlfriend, Michelle for dinner.

Oldest son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Michelle.

The Grands: Andrew and Taylor

Mark and Cindy

Part 3: Hiking the Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Mountains.

A Brief Return to Arizona: Part 1

My husband, Doug, and I have been living in northern Michigan for almost 2 years and I had not been back to AZ to visit my kids and the grands in all that time. I spent a total of 5 days and had a wonderful time. The weather could not have been much better with clear skies, cool temps and brilliant sun. We hadn't seen much sun all winter in MI and so that golden globe was greatly appreciated. 

On Friday night immediately after my 3 hour late arrival into Sky Harbor I rented a car and drove to my youngest son/family in Chandler. Mark took all of us out for dinner.

Andrew, my 11 year old grandson being goofy. LOL!!! :D

Daughter-in-law, Cindy and my 14 year old granddaughter, Taylor looking lovely.

My youngest son, Mark. Guess where Andrew got his goofiness from?

Part 2 - Renaissance Festival.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Small Tornado has Inhabited Our Home

Meet Oliver Twist Barnes, the newest member of the Barnes household. Oliver was born on March 23, 2012, is now just over 4 months old, and as of August 9, 2012, weighed 5 lbs 13 oz.  We adopted him on July 24, 2012.

Oliver had been fostered in a good home through AC PAW, a shelter in Antrim County. I found him at PetSmart where he was being housed in the Kitty Complex. He made it known in no uncertain terms that he wanted out - NOW! Of course, I complied and here he is. He and Daisy often share this "blankie". Daisy is a good caregiver.

Daisy, Oliver, and Ayla are all napping together.  Then there is Molly, napping at the same time as the others but chose to be a couch potato.

We had planned on calling Oliver Ollie. However, every time we called Ollie Molly came running. We soon learned that we were either going to have to change Oliver's name or call him "Oliver".  We did consider calling him Mr. T (Trouble) but didn't want to give him a complex. :D  

When Oliver is up and moving he is nothing short of a bolt of greased lightning.  Oliver gets along well with all but Ayla who, after our loss of Emily, thought she was going to be an only kitty child. She hisses, growls and swats at Oliver but does nothing to try and hurt him. In turn, Oliver acts the part of a typical little brother as he teases and provokes her.