Tag Archives: Studebaker

Waking up to five inches of snow…

Our Little House in the Big Woods

This post is for our children who are far, far away.  May you enjoy the walk around your childhood home.

This post is for you southerners who dream of snowflakes but rarely see them.

This post is for you northerners anticipating the bright beauty of new snowfalls.

Please enjoy the scenes outside our little Upper Peninsula house in the Big Woods.

If you get cold, how about a cup of hot chocolate to get your winter started off on the right foot? (I mean boot.)

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Please avert your eyes if you do not have a strong constitution.


Way too much ice for April!

I mean a strong constitution for snow in the middle of April.  If you’re totally in love with spring–and averse to any interruption to the blooming of daffodils–please quickly dash to another blog.  There are no daffodils hiding in this blog.  None at all.

Iced oregano

We were recently “blessed” with six or seven inches of snow.  It arrived with blustery zeal during two days–Saturday and Sunday.  It wiped out all traces of spring.  It dumped upon us with a fury, albeit with a strange haunting beauty.

Baby evergreens blanketed in snow. April snow. Mid-April snow.

This morning I wore Grandma’s snowmobile suit from the early 1970′s (or was that the late 1960′s?) and winter boots and hat and gloves and stumbled outside as the sun rose between the bare poplar and maple trees.

Decided to get re-acquainted with Ms. Camera.  Time to remember that second appendage to photographers-bloggers.  Our third hand.

Spruce in a blanket. Of snow.

I wasn’t going to post until tomorrow.  (Please, please, no eye rolling!)  But, if I don’t post today, it will be Too Late.  See end of blog to discover why. 

Baby spruce tree peering up out of snow blanket. "Is it spring yet, Mom?"

Hey, look! Its our house and shed through that snow-covered vista!

One of the most beautiful things in the world is a hushed dawn with a carpet of navigable snow beneath your feet.  You’ve eaten your Kashi cereal and drunk your organic coffee and checked your email and blog comments and you’re ready to go.

Our old, old, old Studebaker car. Which no longer runs. The scrap dealers might give us $400-600 for her. Hmmm....what a decision.

You amble around the property.  You look for appropriate photographable shots.  You eye the world with an appraising attentive eye.  Which views will give you what can be communicated?  And which views are better kept in the mind’s eye?  One must assess the difference.

Oh look. Theres our trailer parked under that tree.

You think that maybe you should come outside every morning.  Snow or rain.  Sunshine or gray skies.  You should.  You really should.  You shouldn’t make excuses to linger at the computer.

Cattail ice cream cones??

OK, surprisingly, we’ve come to the end of this blog already.  Who wants to guess why we must post today–this afternoon–and not wait until tomorrow morning?

Because it’s APRIL–that’s why!  And we all know what happens on sunny April afternoons.

The snow melts.

And melts so quickly you can almost forget that it existed in the hushed dawn.

If we don’t post Now, it will be a completely new world.  A snow-less world.  A world of–dare I say it?–blooming daffodils.

I hope you enjoyed our little trek in the snow.  I hope you were all wearing YOUR snowmobile suits from the 1970′s or 1960′s.  I hope you all remembered how to use your camera. 

Let’s go again tomorrow morning, shall we?  At least in our imagination?

Tax Collecting 101

Listen up, blog readers! 

I am going to tell you about Tax Collecting.  Let’s call this class:  Tax Collecting 1o1. 

There will be a quiz.  Please, take notes.  (I’m sorry that there will be no photos.  You don’t expect a blog about Tax Collecting to have PHOTOS do you?)

This is what a township tax collector with a quarter century of experience does.  Especially if she’s the treasurer of a tiny itsy bitty township with 482 citizens (make that about 1,600 – 1,700 parcels) during the last few days before taxes are due.

She gets home from her other job at 3:40 and gathers the nine million tax envelopes from the mailbox.  OK, sorry, she has a tendency to exaggerate in her attempt to tell an interesting story.  She grabs the 30-40 envelopes from the mailbox and tramps into the house.  Turns on the computer (with its tax program) in case taxpayers call to inquire breathlessly, “How much do I OWE?  And will you accept it if the envelope is postmarked by September 14th?”

Yes.  I accept postmark.  Just send your property taxes here, stamped by the kindly post office employee, by tomorrow.  If you wait past then…you will be assessed a whopping 1% penalty per month.  If you can afford it, then do what you want.  Pay in March if you like…after the winter taxes are due…and the delinquents are collected by the county treasurer.  It’s all up to you.

Today I lay on the couch (OK, after quickly checking email) and put da feet up in the air.  That’s because we bought a couch which is too short a few years back.  My beloved husband lay on the couch in the store and announced, “Yep, the couch is long enough!”  I believed him.  Until arriving home and lying on the beautiful new couch.  It was nowhere near long enough.  If you put the head flat on the pillow, the feet stick way up in the air and over the end.  Lesson #2585 in life:  lie on the couch yourself before you purchase it.

But I prevaricate.  Where was I? 

Ahh, yes, feet in the air, snoozing.

The phone rings.

A taxpayer, of course.

“Can I come over and pay taxes?” 

“Yes, of course.  When will you be here?”

“About a half hour.”

“Great, see you then.  By the way, do you know where we’re located?”

“I know where you live,” she said.

Hmmm…well we don’t have long to ponder who this might be.

Another taxpayer arrives with check in hand.

“How old is your Studebaker?” he asks, peering at the old car in the woods. 

“I have no idea,” I said, “but Barry is outside and he should know.”

He gets his receipt and departs.  I see him and Barry in deep conversation in the driveway when, suddenly, up pulls a police car!

Who might THIS be?  Don’t we have enough excitement happening this afternoon?

Ahhh….the police car is the first taxpayer.

She comes in the house with her guns and uniform and “POLICE” in big letters on her back.  This is certainly some excitement for the household.

She wants to know what might happen if she doesn’t pay her taxes.  Double hmmm….  It’s a unique situation, not your usual tax situation.  I advise her to call the assessor, the county, anyone but me! 

“I think it’s a new state ruling,” I suggest, trying desperately to recall details. 

She leaves.  I wonder why and how the police officer knew where we lived.

Barry comes in, grinning.

Turns out the second taxpayer–no, no, was that the first taxpayer?  I am confused now–is good friends with his childhood neighbor, a guy who lives over 500 miles away.  Is this a small world or WHAT?  Barry then proceeds to call his parents and share the exciting details.

I retire to the computer with my magic scanner and start beeping at the bar codes.  Entering check numbers.  Backing up data.  Manually recording it in the tax book. 

Ahhh…the excitement of Tax Collecting 101!

I am sure you would all love this job.  You would. 

Now, back to work.  See you all when it’s done.

JUST KIDDING!  Tax collecting is never done.  Late summer payments will continue to trickle in until I send out the winter bills. 

Have all you paid YOUR property taxes? 

Be nice to your tax collector.  Send her (OK, maybe him) sweet notes in with your checks.  Letters are good.  Cards are appreciated. 

Remember:  we tax collectors are human beings, too. 

Now.  For the quiz.  How much penalty per month if you’re late?  If your tax bill is $100.00 and you don’t pay until November…how much do you owe?

Anyone want a boat ride in 2013?

That which opens a door, believe it or not.

It’s early evening.  The evening holds such possibility.

Which way to turn?  Which door to open? 

I have picked a couple gallons of green beans in the garden the last two days.  Should one can dilly beans?  Blanch and freeze them?  Eat them until green beans grow out your ears?

We’ve been eating out far too much lately, considering the amount of vegetables ripening in the garden.  The most delicate delicious cucumbers!  Amazing cilantro.  Fresh healthy hearty kale.  The tiniest baby carrots.  Crunchy second-crop lettuce.  A harvest of onions.  Sweeping green onions.  The richest of basil leaves. 

The above photo comes to you from Joey’s Seafood Restaurant in Houghton circa Saturday afternoon.  We drove the ’49 Studebaker truck up there this weekend to pick up Barry’s 1976 24-foot hard-top Sea Ray boat.  It’ s been at the fiberglass doctor for about a year now.

Hi boat. Welcome home.

We drove up to Houghton twice during the weekend.  I won’t go into particulars except to say we ate out twice.  The first photo comes to you from the door of Joey’s Seafood Restaurant.

We peered across the street to the windows of the building reflecting bricks from across the street.  I stared, mesmerized, before abandoning my delicious baked haddock to run outside and snap a photo.  And then snap another photo of the front door handle.

Lots of reflections

See our reflected Studebaker in the photo?  Before we picked up the boat.  Just wanted to let you know we made it home safely.  The boat may not see the waters of Lake Superior for another year or so (now comes the interior repair) , but the first stage of repair is completed. 

Anyone want a boat ride in–say–2013?

Dolphins leaping!

Relaxing by the pool

Hello readers!  I am so excited to tell you what happened this morning.  Really early.  My mom and I were sipping coffee flavored with hazelnut creamer when the Most Amazing Thing happened.  I wandered out on the lanai and saw…are you ready for this??…Leaping dolphins!

In all the years I’ve visited Florida, I have never seen such a show.  We can’t decide if it was one dolphin leaping over and over and over again, or many dolphins.  It arched maybe six feet in the air. Maybe nine feet in the air.  It leapt with grace and spirit and beauty.  Up it arched and down it dove.  Again and again and again.  At least a dozen times.  Maybe two dozen! No time to look for the camera.

The dolphin leaped and we gasped in awe and amazement.  I said, “Look at the dolphin!  It wants to be on the blog.”  (My mother, I’m sure, rolled her eyes.)  But you never know.  The dolphin maybe did want to say hello to all you blog readers.

These photos are all backwards.  I like to usually start at the Beginning of the Day and then progress toward the end.  Tonight I’m starting in mid-afternoon (with a lounge by the pool) in about 78 degree temperatures.  Sunlight appeared after a day of wind and gray and threatening rain.  It was lovely.  I brought my new book down to the pool.

It’s the story of a woman deciding whether to become a Buddhist nun or finding true love with a man.  Which would you choose?  I’m thinking she’ll choose the guy.  But you never know. 

Woman and dog run along the Gulf

Now let’s back up. After a lunch of leftover seafood salad, my parents had to attend a condominium annual meeting.  So they dropped me off about 2-3 miles from “home”.  “Find your way back,” they instructed.  (Just kidding!  They didn’t really say that.  There’s really no way you can get lost on the island.)

Man on bike

I walked on the white white sand and thanked the Universe for the ocean, the sand, the sun, the warmth, the seaweed, the people, and sixteen other things.  Tried to walk very very slowly appreciating everything. 

Kids with pails

The beach featured some seaweed–not enough to challenge swimmers–but enough to notice.   I kept looking closer and closer, until their beautiful patterns and colors revealed themselves.  After about five minutes of peering at seaweed, I was in love with its patterns.  You could do an entire blog photographing seaweed. 

Red seaweed

The wind blew fiercely. So fiercely that I looked like Einstein’s niece upon arriving back at the condo.  You needed a hat to hold your curls in place.  The seagulls sat motionless, almost asleep, the wind attempting to blow them airborne.  They allowed me to approach rather closely and did not fly up.  The wind was too much for even them.

Gulls snoozing in the wind

Very few sun-bathers lingered along the shore on the rented cabanas.  The sun-bathers were waiting for the sun.  Almost all the green cabanas below were empty.

Long line of green cabanas. Anyone want to rent one?

I like to look in places most people ignore.  The storm sewers looked fascinating.  The leaves, the reflections.  This one looked like a work of art.  Do you agree?  Or do you think it looks only like a storm sewer?

Down through the sewer grate

Almost back to the condo, I had to sneak oh-so-carefully up to a rented condominium to photograph the flower photo below.  I shot a series of about ten photos of the flowers framed in white, but for some reason really like the simplicity of this one.

Oleander? Bougainvillea? Looks like art!

Tonight we ate dinner at South Beach in the Santini Plaza.  It was the best meal ever!  I ate glazed salmon (with some horseradish sauce) and my mom ate parmesan-encrusted tilapia and Dad opted for crab cakes.  All the meals were absolutely gourmet.

Actually, it was a gourmet day.  From dolphins leaping to swimming in the pool to glazed salmon…ahhh…  Bring on Day #2.

Playing with the Queen of Hearts

Tree reflections in red Studebaker

Hello again, dear friends and family.

Ready for the daily update?

First of all, Upper Michigan languishes in gray.  We’ve talked about this before.  Gray skies, blueish gray snow, gray faces, gray dispositions.  OK, I’m kind of kidding about the gray faces, but everything else is accurate.

We’ve seen the sun briefly.  It peeks its head out from the clouds, sticks out its yellow tongue, and disappears again.  Sometimes it stays around for a few hours, but rarely.  We all need to take Vitamin D-3.  Ask my dad.  It’s especially good for us cloud-covered northern dwellers.

I took dozens of icicle photos to show you today.  But guess what?  Only one turned out halfway decent.  All the others looked like gray blurriness.  What else can we expect on a gray day?

Icicles from the garage roof

Because the icicle photos refused to cooperate and because I have nothing else to say, I am going to paste & copy a poem.  One of my spiritual-type poems shared elsewhere on this on-line world.  (You were spared my poetry last year because none really fit appropriately into the outdoor blog.)

I even took photos to accompany the poem.  Here we go:

House made of cards

Our house of should and shouldn’t
Remember when, on a lark, we built that house of cards?
Mama showed us how to lean the King of Spades
against the Queen of Hearts.
On our knees, laughing, we created our flimsy house.
You grabbed the ten of diamonds; shouted “up!”
I found the ten of clubs
bellowed “down!”
Each card gleamed in lamplight as we built,
carefully, just so, a magic creation,
don’t upset the pack.
Here, there.
Yes, no.
Love, hate.
“I am!” you shrieked.
“I’m not!” I screamed.
For hours we played, months, full-mooned years.
Better than pick-up sticks, our favorite game,
our house of should and shouldn’t.
One day a lifetime later you brood in the game,
distraught, annoyed, weary.
“It’s not real!” you whisper suddenly
and with swishing arms
knock the whole thing down.
You laugh suddenly, your eyes lighting up,
joy on your face.
“Real,” I say softly as you scamper away.
I kneel with cards scattered across the hardwood,
trying desperately to re-construct the house.
The Jack refuses to support anyone.
The two card flutters into its own heart.
The house is gone.
Yet I sit here still, trying, trying,
while you wash dishes, carry laundry.

Yes, cards everywhere

Poetry Post Script.  After I threw the cards all around and randomly turned over the Queen of Hearts and the Joker…guess what song came on the radio immediately thereafter?
Playing with the Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton.  Odd that the song mentions the two cards I randomly chose for the photograph.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BdqsTXPt-g
It is a strange and synchronistic world.