Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer is...


Making jam

Blowing Bubbles

A girls day out for painting Nails.

It's fishing off the pier

Swinging high 

Finding stones and shells and snails.

Inspecting grasshoppers,

 mysterious bugs, and moths.      So Cool!

Getting thrown in the lake

Cheering teams

Swimming in a vacation pool.

And ice cream!

Happy Summering, Barn Door readers,

                                   Poet And Writer Mary Allen             

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Haiku For Hikers

   Haiku for Hikers 

two hammocks hang
along a wooded trail
stay away, bears

by Lori Lipsky

This haiku is also known as Haiku 24. If you liked this you may also like:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ice Age in Wisconsin

Lisa Lickel

Ice Age Trail Alliance

The Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, I mean.

cover of park brochure

And I apologize at the moment, but tracks are a couple of miles from my house and I should have more pictures, shouldn't I? From the above site, you can find such fascinating information as a general explanation of glacial terminology. I live in an area affected by the last glacier. After moving here thirty years ago, I learned about kettles and moraines, eskers, drumlins, erratics. Many of the trails follow features like the ridges created, and skirt kames and kettle holes of all sizes. The trail map link doesn't work, however. And HERE is a great list of those features.

THIS is the site you really want to visit if you plan to do any hiking.

One of my writer groupies is through-hiking this summer, and another plans to next summer.

THIS is the link to the pdf of the trails in my area of the state.
Everything from choose your route stop and turn arounds to several-mile loops. Some of the trails feature aspects of ice age features, like ridge hikes or lake loops. Basically, the middle of Wisconsin was once a huge inland water feature. It never really dried up, and Lake Winnebago and Horicon Marsh are two of the most remarkable remaining state features

There are cool books, even if you don't end up hiking the trails.

Along Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail

Lots of opportunities to volunteer if you live around here.

The Ice Age Trail headquarters is located in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, along the main drag, Highway 14.

The Wisconsin State Park Ice Age Visitor Center is a little trickier to find, but has a cool movie, activity center and the most awesome view of Dundee "mountain" a huge Ice Age feature with a trail daring you to climb to the top. Come and Visit!

Outside the Ice Age Center

Friday, July 10, 2015

Telltale Signs

Do you like butter, my mother asked me
A very strange question to a little girl three
Until in the mirror I could finally see
The kiss of a dandelion had answered for me

Hidden by branches and trees all around
I savored the summertime treasure I’d found
My Mulberries discovered though I told not a soul
By my purpled stained fingers my secret was told

We weren’t supposed to do it the water was too close
But we loved rolling down the soft grassy slope
Mom always seemed to know what we had done
Grass stains on our backsides revealed our fun

It didn’t take eyes in the back of her head
To figure out where her children had been
Though freedom was ours in the sweet summertime
She kept a caring eye out for those telltale signs

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Head in the Clouds

By Shelley Wilburn

I love clouds. When I was a little girl I used to find shapes of things in the clouds. Okay, who am I kidding? I still do it! I’ve seen all kinds of different shapes of clouds, different sizes, and pretended a whole lot of different things all while watching the clouds as a little girl. As a “big girl” I love watching the clouds for other reasons.
Alligator, elephant, and duck

When my husband D.A. and I are out riding our motorcycle it often gets boring on the back seat. And since I like to gawk it doesn’t really pay for me to ride my own motorcycle because where you look, that’s where you go. And since I don’t fancy going in the ditch or off the side of the mountain, I just ride behind dear husband. That’s when I can look around and really see some interesting cloud shapes.

Snoopy dancing
I’ve seen alligators, elephants and ducks. The cutest one I picked out was Snoopy dancing, head up and ears flying out to the sides. If you’re a Peanuts fan you know what I’m talking about. 
Storm clouds

Then there are those clouds we all know the shape, size and color of; storm clouds. They can take on all sorts of eerie shapes. And while the may seem ominous at times, in their own way even those are beautiful.

One of the scariest and most brilliant cloud shapes I think exists I really never thought I would see, nor did I want to see it except maybe on television, maybe from someone else’s video clips or a storm spotter’s camera; the tornado.

Funnel cloud
As luck, or maybe we should go with Divine Intervention would have it, I haven’t seen an actual tornado. Because if I had that would mean I would have had to have been in one. But while on a recent trip to St. Louis, Missouri, I nearly was. D.A. and I decided to take an overnight trip since I was scheduled to have an eye appointment. The weather was hot, but nothing that was indicative of storms. Yet that evening while we were lounging in our hotel room, we were summoned to the first floor by the front desk and instructed to take cover in the hotel ballroom.
Taking shape
Of course we wasted no time in going down from our fifth floor room, taking the stairs just in case the electricity went out. The stairwell opened up outside under the carport. There we saw many people standing outside looking north. As I turned to look at what they were seeing, I saw it. A funnel cloud. My first. So I snapped a couple of pictures.

That’s about all I got because it wasn’t long before it started to rain, the sky went green and we were all ushered into the ballroom for safety, about fifty to seventy-five of us. D.A. and I prayed. Fortunately, it wasn’t long (maybe thirty minutes) before the hotel manager came into the ballroom and thanked us for being so patient and cooperative. She also stated that “somehow” the tornado turned and went east instead of south as it had been and it missed us.* I silently thanked the Lord for His grace and mercy.

I’ve never been that close to a tornado without seeing one. Quite frankly, I hope I never get any closer to that kind of cloud. I still like clouds though. They’re beautiful whether they’re the white, puffy ones, the wispy ones, the foggy ones, or whatever they are. But I think my favorite clouds are the ones that God shines His beautiful light through in the early morning hours when I meet with Him on the edge of my porch and say, “Good morning, God.” 

I like to think He smiles and says, “Good morning to you too, My child.”

 *Incidentally, the tornado that touched down in St. Louis that night was reported the next day to have been an F2. It did minor damage and left debris along the roadways. It also dumped two inches of rain in the area. There were no reported injuries and no one lost their lives. The tornado touched down exactly two miles from where we were staying that night. God is so very, very good!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Opportunities in a Small Town

By Gail Kittleson

Summer brings all sorts of opportunities in a small town:

Good old lemonade stands and a kind neighbor,

 Viewing baby goats at the county fair,

Making friends with Charolais calves--such velvety noses!

Exploring intriguing 4-H projects, like this renovated car-turned chicken coop,

Having one's face painted at a street fair,

And splitting thirty-six fat-fried mini-donuts covered with cinnamon sugar. That's between TWO children…it's all about making memories. Oh, now that I think about it, Grandpa sneaked one, too. 

I've been thinking about how we often don't know what we actually did until after we do it. That's the way it often is with me. Reflection brings half the ecstasy of an experience - or the agony.

And I suppose that's the way it is with these everyday summertime experiences. Who knows what the grandkids will remember in twenty years? Looking back at my childhood, the most insignificant events arise. For example, the time my brother and I buried a dead baby chick in a Hershey's cocoa can.

Why would I recall that? Or the times around the dinner table when we'd get to laughing and not be able to stop, even though we saw dad starting to fume because he wanted to hear the market reports on the radio.

Memory has a fickleness about it sometimes. We don't have a clue, really. A couple of weeks ago, at my memoir-writing workshop for the Cedar Falls Writers' Workshop, participants seemed to agree . . . at times, we simply have to take what surfaces and go with it.

So it is with midsummer--lemonade stands, county fairs, and sweet grandchildren. Let's sink down into each experience and take it for all it's worth!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Finally on the Water!

It took a while for summer to finally arrive, but it's here! The sun, the warmth, the windows open twenty-four hours a day! And, when you live in northern Michigan, it also means the water.

For years I drove by the water without fully enjoying it. I wanted to enjoy it, but I'm not much of a beach goer. I can only sit on the sand for so long before I get antsy. I don't mind swimming, but it can take a while for Lake Michigan to warm up (and by "warm," I mean above 60 degrees). In the last few years, however, I've discovered boats.

I've know for years that I like being on the water. I spent five seasons working on the S.S. Badger in Ludington, traveling across Lake Michigan at least 250 times. I loved that job, and one of the big reasons was because I got to work on a ship. When I wasn't working, I loved canoeing with friends down the Pere Marquette river. After graduating college, however, I had "grow up," so I took a job, moved away, and stared at the water as I drove by.

A few years ago, my dad decided he wanted to try kayaking. We'd never done it before, but something about my mountain-man husband inspired my dad, so we rented the kayaks and took off. With the exception of losing feeling in my butt about 3/4 of the way through the ride, I fell in love. It took a few years, but the hubs and I finally got out own kayaks last summer.

As if that wasn't enough fun, some friends of ours also bought a sea-going vessel last year. They purchased a nice sized speed boat - large enough for day trips and over night visits while still being small enough for a couple of newbie sailors to manage.

After our last trip on the water last year (on a sunny October morning), I've been counting down the days until I could get back on the water. The hubs and I agreed to wait until June - the water was still too cold in May, and we didn't want to risk tipping (a woman and her son took kayaks out for the first time this May and ended up in the hospital with hypothermia - it's a very real danger around here). So we waited and waited and waited ....

And then it was June! And it was warm, and boats launched all across the northern lower peninsula and we knew we could do it! And we did. And it was wonderful. And we can't wait to get back out there again!

(See how I made you wait to look at pictures this time? That how I felt waiting to get back in my kayak...)
First time in the speed boat!
The hubs enjoying the water.

It doesn't compare to how beautiful it really is...

Our little friends waiting for daddy to really get moving.

Me and the hubs. This trip was actually after the kayak adventure (thus the long hair), but sometimes Blogger is picky about uploading photos.

First trip of 2015!

Warm enough to kayak, but too cold to take off the sweatshirt.

Beautiful Elk Lake.


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