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. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm Back and Trying to Play Catch-Up

I can't believe I haven't updated this blog since November. I am going to try and give a quick, brief summary of the main things that have happened since my last post.

The fence and 3 gates for the enclosed dog area are now complete. Doug spent many hours/days working in cold wet weather to finish this project before the ground froze.  My contribution was to hold the poles straight while Doug filled the holes with concrete. 

This is the back deck. All 3 decks are now finished with railings and stairs.  The fence is finished and it looks wonderful. 

The doggy door is in so our "girls" are able to go out and/or come in whenever they need to or want to.  This is nice for all of us as we don't have to worry about hurrying home to let them out nor do we have to get up in the middle of the night to let them out.

The snows came and Doug got to use his "new-to-him" used and rebuilt by him snowblower.

The decks are all finished including railings and stairs.  Notice the beautiful orb (below) that showed up in this picture.

 Matt, our contractor, neighbor, egg man, and snow removal person is plowing his way through a 30" snowfall so that we can get out if we need to.

Ahhh!!!! Spring. At the first sign of this new and lovely season Doug built our permanent clothesline.  There is just nothing like the crisp feel and wonderful odor of clothes dried outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.

And along with spring, increased warmth (a little), and greatly increased light our greenhouse went to work to provide us with salad greens to eat  right now and seedlings to plant in our new raised beds built by my own personal engineer/master builder . . . Doug :D

Doug also repurposed some pallets into this compost bin. He plans on building 2 more.

Here Doug is working on one of the raised beds with plans to build a total of 6 this year. More will be added next year.

In the greenhouse where it is warm and sunny I am trying to transplant seedlings into these seedling trays which Doug also built from pallets.  No, I am not trying to grow more kitties although that's not a bad idea. Kitties are like potato chips - you can't have just one. :D

Ayla didn't like the potting soil and so I was able to plant both trays.

This is the temporary tree nursery. Every year the Grand Traverse Conservation District has a seedling sale of native trees. I bought 5 each: elderberry, black walnut, ash, white oak, sugar maple.  We weren't ready to plant them in a permanent location and so I planted them in rows in a block out back.  Hopefully these babies will be alright during this cold weather.

This is the original #1 compost bin. It is a year old and should be ready to use. It is quite wet right now and I haven't been able to get in there and turn it to see what is going on.

Seven cubic yards of 6 year old, very well rotted horse manure just delivered last night.  Compost bin #2 is in the background and is about 1/3 full.

Doug built the permanent asparagus bed made using "Urbanite" - broken pieces of concrete.  There is nothing in it yet except the soil for the asparagus. I am waiting for the live starts to be delivered any day.

There is an amazing amount of work to be done outdoors. Thank goodness spring brings with it longer hours of daylight. Now if we could also get a little more warmth it would be perfect. Our highs are in the 40s with lows in the mid-20s, too cold to plant anything outdoors but at least we can get everything ready.