Good morning, Blog Readers! OK, maybe it is afternoon. Maybe it’s evening. Maybe it’s midnight when you’re reading this. Never you mind. We are just going to pretend it’s morning here in the Upper Peninsula.
Welcome to my world.
This morning I blinked a lazy eye around 6:30 a.m. Mumbled to husband lying in bed, “It’s 6:30…” Because it’s a Thursday, this fact means something different to him than to me. Thursdays I don’t have to go to work at the school. Thursdays he must hit the road for his day job. I tried not to rub it in.
However, I did rouse myself from bed and start the morning chores. Do we all have morning chores we follow religiously? Mine are such: flip on light near front door. Turn on gas beneath tea kettle (to make one cup of coffee for said husband and one cup of peppermint tea for said blog writer.) Follow the circular stairway downstairs to the basement.
Start fire. Ahhh, I have started a million fires in our marriage. I am the Chief Fire Lighter and Stoker. If someone inquires about my profession, I should state, “I am a fire stoker.” Because that’s what I am. Nine months of the year…sometimes ten months!…sometimes in July, I am sad to add. I move around the coals in the wood stove and add newspaper and kindling and logs and a match and…wa la!!…start the blessed stove.
Day in and day out this ritual repeats itself. It is a gentle ritual. It kindles me awake.
Barry and I chatted briefly before he departed for work. Today he took my car, the senior statesman of the fleet, the silver 2003 Buick. His Buick is not doing well. Should I say “Grandma’s Buick” is not doing well? Do you remember the 1970’s snowmobile suit that I inherited and that I have shared with you faithful readers for more than a year now? Well, we are proud owners of one other possession owned by my grandmother. It’s a 1995 Buick Century. Maroon. It gets a glorious 30 miles per gallon. (And I named her Alice years ago, after my grandma’s sister. Long story.)
My mother passed it along to us after Grandma died, and it’s been a faithful member of the family ever since. I drove it for about five years, and then Barry became the primary driver. Oh, I could tell you stories upon stories about this Buick. It sports 196,000 miles now. And lately it’s been having Issues. Stuck temperature gauge issues. Oh heaven knows how the issues will resolve. It has an Appointment with our faithful mechanic on Monday. In the meantime, I graciously offered my husband the use of “my” car.
That meant I was “car-less” for a day. Fine and dandy. One of my jobs is from home, so that would be the priority today.
Here, dear reader, is a picture of Grandma’s Buick:
Since it was Thursday…it was time to utilize the juicer and make a delicious pineapple-apple-orange juice for breakfast. Remember The Great Juicer Adventure? We have been enjoying juicing for the last couple of months…although not on work mornings.
This morning I took the camera everywhere around the house. Snap, snap, snap. Bemoaned the lack of lighting. Suggested to the Gods of Picasa photo editing that they add the proper degree of light. They sneered haughtily back at me. I simply cannot figure out indoor photography. It’s a mystery. But will continue to attempt it!
And then let’s look at it from a different angle:
Ahhh….delicious juice. It’s now 8 a.m. And it’s light outside! Time to turn on the computer and check out exciting happenings in Cyber-world.
Buoyed by the peppermint tea and homemade juice, I turned to email to connect with the world outside of the Upper Peninsula. To places where one doesn’t stoke the wood stove at 6:30 a.m.
A lovely email met my eyes. Reggie, from South Africa, had written a blog in Grains of Sand called Well done, Kathy! with congratulations for fulfilling the 365 day outdoor commitment. What a sweetheart! What a lovely beam of light on a gray February morning. Thank you so much, Reggie.
After a half hour I turned off the computer and headed outside for today’s adventure. But that would be way too many photographs to post for one day! Stay tuned…photos from the walk Up the Road will appear eminently.
Kathy – Even though it’s evening for me now, I re-lived your morning vicariously through your blog and enjoyed the dickens out of it. We use a woodburning stove too … but not nearly as many months of the year as you do — five months worst case scenario. Yowza!
[“My” 1996 Volvo wagon was pushing 250,000 miles when her odometer broke. Len says I can get 300,000 out of her … easy]
Laurie, we could probably give each other tips and pointers about woodstove-stoking. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to hear that you have put so many miles on your Volvo. Way to go! Let’s hope Len’s right and you can get those 300,000 miles.
Oh Kathy what a great morning I had with you while I wait for the chili to cook for our evening meal. As you may know I have Miss Prissy – she is the grand-lady in this group coming from 1991.
Kathy your stories and photo essays are grandly transporting – seems like it is my week to curl up beside other peoples virtual wood stove – Laurie already shared an afternoon with hers:)
Mmmm…Terrill…chili sounds good! No, I didn’t know about Miss Prissy (must have missed reading about her so far. 1991!! Why she’s an elegant elder, it sounds like.) I am glad to hear you enjoyed curling around our woodstoves and listening to stories.
Kath—–Love Grandma’s Buick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dad
Dad, isn’t Grandma’s Buick wonderful?? And wouldn’t she be appalled to know I ran a photo of it in a blog without washing it first???
That is a high quality fire, ma’am, and a very comforting wood room. Nicely seasoned logs, split down so a person can actually move ’em around and make fires without needing to see the chiropractor. Yes indeed, very snug.
I have a Buick that looks a lot like Grandma’s. It has some fine qualities, but unfortunately it does not like me.
I miss my 1992 Dodge Caravan. When laid to rest it had 205,000 miles on the odometer and it still got 26 miles to the gallon. I could fit my kayak inside. I could sleep in the back. (I am short and I took the seats out.) I could make the seats go up and down and back and forth on a whim. It bounced cheerfully along sandy two-tracks and hummed down I-75 and back in every kind of weather. I’m pretty sure it liked me, although it wasn’t the kind of inanimate object to go all over animate on you.
Gerry, your Dodge Caravan sounds like a wonderful treasure. And you got lots of miles from it! I have such a neat image of you sleeping in it, going kayaking, traveling all around…it feels like The Life. Perhaps your Buick knows that your heart is still attached to the Caravan….?
Bravo! Tickled all my senses, including humor … been meaning to pop in for days …. thanks for ALL you continue to write … and shoot. Hugs 🙂
Hi Susan D! I thought about you and here you are. Love seeing you! And I adore you because you always seem to like my weird sense of humor. And I love yours!
I have trouble with indoor photography, too. Weird, unnatural shadows. I call them artificial shadows from the artificial light… Love your woodpile – how long will it last you? Thank you for the slice of pineapple and the slice of life…
Barbara, we shall commiserate together about our indoor photography woes. (Or we’ll get Scott–several comments below–to help us figure it out. Although I think the answer is a new camera…) As for our woodpile, once piled in our house, it last maybe 3-4 weeks. Then we have to re-fill.
I would like to stoke our wood stove once in awhile – there’s something comforting about ‘playing’ in the fire. Our stove is over in the garage which entails a walk – only about 100 yards, but I’m thankful I don’t have to do it in the cold night at 9 pm or 4 am. Yeah, Johnny!
I do love pineapple! Wondered how your juicer was working – might have to think about one…hmm. Thanx for the journey this morning – it was lovely waking up with you! 🙂
Yep, if your woodstove is over in the garage, you better keep Johnny on the stoking detail. After dark woodstove stoking outside doesn’t sound quite so comforting. But then maybe again on weekends you could go play in the fire. LOL. The juicer is working well and makes great juice. It’s just that you have to factor in cleaning-time. So sometimes before work it’s a little too challenging to attempt. Let me know if you decide to get one.
Ahhhh, what a beautiful woodstove. How cosy and snuggly it must be in your home. That sure is one impressive woodpile! Did you have to chop that all yourselves, then, or did some nice man deliver it to your door? 😉
The sight of that refreshing and sweet pineapple-apple-orange-juice made me drool. It really did. Now I’m gonna have to go and make myself an apple-and-carrot juice….
I LOVE that apple! That can’t be an apple, surely? Not a REAL one? You painted it, right? It didn’t come off the tree looking so colourful, did it? Did it start off all green and sour, and then suddenly put on its coat of many colours? I am intrigued.
Did some nice man deliver it to our door? (I am sorry, Reggie, that got me grinning.) No, no nice man delivered it. We split and chopped and chopped and split and hauled and chopped and split and it took weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks last summer. You probably missed all those blogs where I was complaining and carrying on about the chore…and then decided I loved doing it.
Yes, that is a real apple. A genuine bona-fide apple out of an organic apple bag. I hope the inside of it was OK…I put it in the juicer without looking…the juice tasted OK!
196K on an old Buick? They must not use salt on the road in the UP. Around upstate NY, it would be a shell of rust by now.
Indoor photography = flash. If you own a speedlight with a head that can be moved around at different angles, you need to look up bounce flash techniques. I have a series on a Disney blog I contribute to if you are interested. If you own a Nikon dSLR, you can further explore the world of off-camera flash using Nikon’s CLS system.
I am sure that is much more than you asked for during your morning chores. 🙂
Oh yes, Scott, the UP roads have salt…Michigan cars are notorious rust-buckets. HOWEVER I have a husband who knows how to paint cars. (How lucky can one get?) So he has painted “Alice” a few years ago. Otherwise she would look very challenged.
Oh, Scott…the only camera I have is this little Sony CyberShot and whenever I take flash photos it looks glar-y and too light. Without flash it looks too dark. So I take the photo into Picasa and try to lighten it and it never looks right. I have searched in vain for more camera adjustments…but can’t find anything that looks good yet. Unless a miracle happens.
Hmmmm…..P&S cameras don’t make very flattering flash photos. Which CyberShot do you have?
Sony Cyber-shot 12.1 megapixels. Didn’t want to buy a “real” camera until it looked like this photography hobby would last. And it’s been a great camera for outdoor shots. Well, not “great” but good enough for this blog. But it really is not behaving for indoor flash photos. Unflattering just about covers it.
Heating with wood is the greatest isn’t it? …I have the PM stoking duties at our house. But AM finds me with my shoveling duties, deer and bird feeding and the armful of wood that gets it going again… we keep our wood outside… a different set up to yours as our woodstove is on the main floor of house. Our layout is 1200 sq feet.. me thinks yours is more.
Yeah, that is a weird looking apple.. I’d be leery of eating it…mutant, growlights, steroids?? Blechhh…
Jane, another wood-stoker! We truly must meet in person and compare notes. Years ago we had a woodstove on the main floor of our house…I remember that. Actually we have a very tiny house. I liked to call it our “Little House in the Big Woods” after Laura Wilder Ingalls. We have 900 feet upstairs. Downstairs there’s a walk-out basement with 900 feet, too.
As for the apple, I woulda been scared too except it was organic and from the co-op. For some reason I thought it had to be safe!
PS. Forgot to say that we have never used our furnace since we’ve built here. Nice to know it’s there, but LaCourts hates us LOL!!! We have a 500 gallon tank of theirs and only use for hot water and dryer !!! We are
” WILL CALL” but never do, LOL
Never used your gas furnace? Wow! Congratulations…we have used ours several times.
Kathy, that is such a cool-looking apple. I’ve never seen such stripes before.
It was the most unique apple I’ve ever seen!
Catching up, reading your blog & enjoying the wonderful pictures. Great juice shots! Loved the apple, and the warm fire!
Martha, I was thinking of you this morning while walking (and running a little bit) down the road. So it’s a special delight to come home to our cozy house and read your comment. Wish you could be here this afternoon. We could have a cup of tea. Or juice! 🙂