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Snow on white pine branch

Julie, Julie, Julie!  You decided to do what?  Write a blog for 365 days making Julia Child’s recipes?  And someone thought this worthy of a million dollar movie?

Julie, please share your secret with us.  We truly want to know.  Because, my dear, YOU had it easy.  All you had to do was read a recipe book and follow directions.  How challenging could this be?

Snowy path in woods

The rest of us bloggers (well, some of us bloggers) who chose to blog for all those 365 days DON’T HAVE ANY RECIPE BOOKS TO FOLLOW!!  We have to make up the blogs out of thin air.  We have to pray to blog-god to help us come up with new entertaining material.  We have to figure it out, day in and day out, day out and day in.

And what did you have to do?  FOLLOW A RECIPE BOOK!  If there was a recipe book to follow, a 365 day blog commitment would be a piece of cake.  (Get it?  A piece of cake?  Well, probably in Julia Child’s case it’s something like a bon-bon.)

Scary snow creature!

Truly, Julie, I have not yet watched your blogging movie.  It’s in my Netflix queue, truly it is.  People (well, two people anyway) have suggested that I watch this movie, thinking that we have something in common with our year-long commitment.  And I will probably love it.  You and Meryl Streep are in it, right?  Of course it will be a lovely movie.  I already have some organic popcorn ready for the occasion.  We’ll do that girl-thing together.  You, me and Julia.  We’ll celebrate year-long blogs together.  How does that sound? 

Sleeping snow dragon. Shhh....

Interjection:  my daughter just called on her way home from work.  I told her I was writing a blog sniffing at Julie’s audacity to FOLLOW RECIPES for a year and blog about it  Hmmmph!  I said.  Can you imagine?

She just happened to have watched the movie last weekend.  And guess what she does?  DEFENDS Julie.  May I quote exactly what she said?

“Mom, this was hard stuff.  You would have to de-bone a turkey or a duck!  She made 524 recipes during that year.  You couldn’t even DO the recipes where you live–you couldn’t even get half the ingredients!”

Hmmmpphh!  (I am thinking de-boning a turkey would be a cinch!  As for finding the ingredients, yep, she’s probably right…)

Slithering snow snake up there

So, OK, maybe the recipe-following blog adventure was a little teeny-weeny bit challenging.  Maybe we’ll give her that.  Maybe her souffles fell.  Maybe she burned her roast duck.  Maybe the Beef Bourguigon didn’t simmer long enough. 

I guess I’ll have to wait to see the movie and find out. 

A snow dragon of a different sort. Or perhaps you know what it is?

But, anyway, if any of the producers happen to Google Julie/Julia and find this blog…I’m open for a movie deal.  Just sayin’.  Give me a call.

**P.S.  oh yes, back to the “real” commitment.  Today I walked in the snow and took snow pictures.  It’s really all Gerry’s fault over at Torch Lake Views.  Gerry wrote a blog called “Imagine” in which we were suppose to spot iguanas, a dancer, bells, cats and ghosts in her snow photos.  I couldn’t spot anything (It was probably attention deficit disorder because it was time to go outside, or maybe because I was talking to Julie/Julia in my head.)  However, immediately upon entering Snow Country at least ten different snow-shapes presented themselves.

If we were simply following recipes, would we have seen snow creatures?  I think not.

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River stones

River stones

A couple of days ago flandrumhill (Amy) from Nova Scotia passed along a MeMe blogging award to Opening the door, walking outside.  Who knows who came up with this idea in the blogosphere?  But here were the instructions:

In order to accept the award one must reveal seven things about oneself and then pass along the award to seven other bloggers.  Since I won’t be extensively outside today until after blog-writing self-imposed deadline (and still have photos from yesterday!) it’s time to play along.

There are so many interesting blogs that I have read this year…it’s hard to decide which ones to highlight.  But since this is an outdoors blog, the decision is made.  The highlighted blogs must have writers who feature the outdoors predominantly, or who exhibit a strong sense of Place or Landscape in their blog-space.  My other beloved blogs will have to play second fiddle.

I don’t know if this is allowed, but the first award goes back to flandrumhill.  Amy comes from Nova Scotia and her blog is utterly utterly fascinating.  She is a teacher and lover of the natural world extraordinaire.  She blends together facts and mystery with a charming style.  She’ll make you want to visit the coasts, the bogs, the woods of this fair landscape.  Do visit her world and I guarantee you’ll learn so much about Nova Scotia and the way the land intersects with our human vistas.

Red pine bark

Red pine bark

Then there is Gerry at Torch Lake Views.  I admit to adoring Gerry’s neck-of-the-woods because she lives smack-dab in the middle of the area where I spent many years growing up at my parents’ cottage.  Reading her blog brings back memories and joys.  She’ll mention a place like the Dockside or Brownwood or Bellaire and my heart goes pitter-pattering back to those years of floating on Intermediate Lake on a paddleboard, learning how to drive on Antrim County Roads, exploring Lake Michigan’s shoreline.  She’s REALLY funny too; has a great sense of humor.  Do stop by and read about this lakeland community in Northern (lower) Michigan.

Then there’s Bree.  Bree lives halfway between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.  “What?” you say, “What exists between the two peninsulas?”  The answer is Mackinac Island.  She’s living there this summer from Georgia and her blog is jam-packed filled with the enchantment of living on Mackinac Island, a place where motorized vehicles aren’t allowed and the muskets fire from the fort.  She’ll make you want to pack your bags and move there.  She almost makes me want to scurry over to the island before the summer’s out, just to walk again along the roadside smelling fudge and dodging bicycles and… Do visit Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.

Pebbles caught in between slate

Pebbles caught in between slate

Moving back downstate Michigan (hmm, seems to be a Michigan theme going here…)  you all might want to check out these blogs:  Nature Loving Super Mama who lives near the Pigeon River forest and the Tip of the Mitt and  Adventures of an Innkeeper about Iris and her life as an innkeeper in Benzie County (haven’t quite figured out exactly where Benzie County is yet.  Not exactly…)  Also Kath at the Great Lakes Gazette is a wonderful promoter of Michigan and shares IMPORTANT information like where is the best pasty?  (Everyone knows the U.P. is famous for pasty meat-potato-vegetable pies, right?)  Hurry on over and find out what she has to say.  OK,  one more Michigan favorite:  Jessica at The Magical Mundane Blogspot.  She shares lots about gardening and the outdoors…check it out!

Shadow play

Shadow play

Guess I can’t even follow simple instructions.  Two more blogs, just two more, even though I’m probably missing at least a dozen of the really good ones.  My dear friend Sahlah has a wonderful blog.  I LOVE her photos.  They are astounding and they lure me into the thought of traveling out to the West Coast to visit.  If you have a spare minute or fifteen minutes, drop into her wonderful world at sahlah.wordpress.com.  You won’t regret it. 

Finally (I promise!  I promise!)  do you want to see some MAGNIFICENT photography?  This fellow has been a photographer for more than twenty years and has some “real” equipment, much better than the little Sony Cybershot this blogger is using.  You’ll drool looking at some of his photos, I promise.  Please visit:  http://cherokeebydesign.wordpress.com/  (and he writes some good poetry and other thoughts as well!)

OK, to finalize the deal.  Seven things about myself.  Oh dear.  What don’t you already know?  Well they would have to be indoor kind of things.  Let’s see:

1)  I have two part time jobs.  As a business manager of a two room school and a township treasurer.

2)  We’ll be married for 31 years next month.  Barry and I, that is.  (had to do some quick math.)

3)  I have a challenged gall bladder, so to avoid surgery, we started eating a macrobiotic diet about three years ago.  So far:  no surgery!  And no pain, if I don’t eat too much fat.  (like on trips.  which sometimes happens.)

4)  We had a delicious enchilada sauce pizza covered with black beans and onions and peppers and cilantro and low-fat mozzerella cheese last night for dinner.

5)  Oh dear!  Nothing else interesting is surfacing.  Let me think harder.  Our last dog was part probably half-coyote.  We found her pitchforked and injured at the neighbor’s house back in the 1980’s and I picked up the injured dog in the dark (what kind of idiot does this?) and she screamed and lay still.  We had her fixed by the vet and she was the greatest dog in the world.  But she’s been long gone.

6)  This blog has taken a LONG time to write. 

7)  OK, I’m a rulebreaker.  Will not state a #7.  Except for the fact that stating you’re a ruler breaker, is probably #7.

Trail of needles on stone

Trail of needles on stone

Intermediate Lake, Bellaire, MI

Intermediate Lake, Bellaire, MI

Good evening, everyone.  I come to you now from my childhood bedroom in Yale, Michigan, after a delightful dinner of Salmon Alfredo prepared by my mom, who is a great cook.

What a day it has been!  (What a two days, what a three days…)  After the Gaylord Library posting yesterday I drove over to the cottage in Bellaire on Intermediate Lake.  My folks bought this cottage about 1970 or ’71 and we spent many summer weeks sunning on blankets, paddle-boarding on the lake, jumping off the raft into the water, riding the boat up to the sandbar, canoeing on the Jordan River, playing croquet in the backyard.  Oh so many memories.  I could write an entire blog about the fun we enjoyed at the cottage.  A few years ago my parents decided to sell and thankfully my brother bought it!  Now the cottage is a frequent stop for those of us traveling down from the Upper Peninsula.

One of hundreds of fish flys on screen

One of hundreds of fish flies on screen

Since it is the first week of June, the fish flies abounded.  They were everywhere.  On the window screens, in the lake, on the sidewalk.  After an outdoor stroll by the lake in the evening-time, a dozen fish flies decided to accompany my jacket into the cottage.  (At home in the Upper Peninsula, even though we’re only a half mile from the Huron Bay, we rarely get very many fish flies.)

Small-mouth bass Dad caught back in the '70's

Small-mouth bass Dad caught back in the '70's

Perhaps the fish in the above photo liked to eat fish flies.  My dad caught him back in the days when fishermen (and women) caught stringers filled with good-eating fish.  At least that’s what my mom just said.  This fish weighed seven pounds one ounce.  If my dad had entered the Michigan Outdoors contest that year it would have taken first prize.  Too bad he didn’t!  (Maybe this is one of those “fish stories”…)

A view of the cute little cottage

A view of the cute little cottage

After a great night’s sleep in my childhood cottage bed, it was time to drive to downtown Bellaire and meet Gerry!!  Gerry, as some of you readers might know, is a regular blogger and reader of this blog.  She writes the Torch Lake Views, and Torch Lake Township isn’t too far from Bellaire.  So she agreed to drive from her place to a cafe in Bellaire where we could eat breakfast, drink great coffee and talk about blogging adventures.

She showed up with Miss Sadie and the Cowboy, her two dogs, and the biggest smile in the universe.  I liked her immediately!  She is a great story-teller, entertaining with fascinating adventures.  She also knows a LOT about WordPress.  She shared all sorts of hints and information about how to stream-line this blogging process. 

Here’s a picture of us in front of the coffee shop.  She asked the nice woman who sold us our coffee and breakfast if she could photograph us.

Gerry and Kathy at the Moka shop in Bellaire

Gerry and Kathy at the Moka shop in Bellaire

Then it was on to West Branch to meet my dear childhood friend Pattijo for lunch.  We met at Applebees and talked and talked for at least another hour and a half.  What a delight it was to meet with her!  She actually traveled one and a half hours, just so we could spend some time together.  Even though we don’t see each other more often than once a year, we always start right in on the conversation where we left off the previous year…

Pattijo and Kathy in West Branch

Pattijo and Kathy in West Branch

What a delightful day!  Meeting up with two amazing friends in one day… 

And now comes four days in Yale, spending time with Mom and Dad, brothers, sister-in-laws and nieces and nephews.  It’s good to be here.  Can’t wait to have some outdoor adventures downstate.

P.S.  Today’s outdoor time:  walking with my mom through the old neighborhood after this blog was written.  A cool evening, but a fun time to be sharing with my mother.

Strawberry blossom says it all

Strawberry blossom says it all

The Anishnabe (Ojibway) call this June moon “The Strawberry Moon”.  Barry and I debated that today.  Either (a) this month’s name came from Ojibway living a LOT further south or (b) they meant Strawberry Blossom Moon. 

Our white strawberry blossoms smile up in full bloom.  We won’t be munching juicy ripe delectable strawberries until the July moon is thinking about its encore performance.  Doesn’t a quart of fresh organic sweet berries sound fantastic?  Maybe the Anishnabe were dreaming of strawberries and attempted to speed up time with this month’s name.

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

You might call this month “Planting Flower Month”.  Every year, about the first weekend in June, folks from downstate travel to the Huron Bay Tavern near Skanee (also fondly known as Billy da Finn’s, although I don’t know why) and sell baskets of flowers, tomatoes, and assorted other vegetables.  We always drive over there and find at least $20 worth of flowers and plants to plant.  (This is after we’ve found lots of other local vegetables which we’ve been curing in the sun and taking inside at night for a couple weeks now.)

Here’s the rule.  If you plant your tomatoes and peppers and beans and zucchini before June 10th:  watch out.  Frost might just attack those tender plants.  Barry’s birthday was yesterday and he thinks the date of planting these warmer-weather vegetables and flowers is June 6th.

So guess what we’ve been doing today?  Planting!

Planting the tomatos.  They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Planting the tomatos. They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Last night we received a little rain shower.  Not a lot, but enough to wet the ground and water the plants.  The dandelion puffballs looked a tad soaked in the morning, almost like they had a little shampoo.

Soggy dandelion puffball

Soggy dandelion puffball

The forest around our house looks leafy and green.  Spiffed up in its summer clothes. 

Green, green...everywhere you look

Green, green...everywhere you look

So we enjoyed a lovely birthday party this evening.  (Barry’s band played a gig last night so the official celebration was postponed until today.) Dinner menu:  tamale pie and green tossed salad.  Very delicious.  Barry didn’t want a cake, but kindly picked some lupines for our table.  He opened cards and packages and I…oops!…forgot to sing him Happy Birthday.  Hmmm, will do that the minute he walks in the door!  Promise!

Birthday lupines in a vase

Birthday lupines in a vase

P.S.  OH MY GOODNESS!  If the quality of these photos is acceptable, I am in seventh heaven tonight.  Gerry of  Torch Lake Views suggested compressing these photos on WordPress to save space.  She said it would also make posts load faster.  You can’t IMAGINE how fast these photos loaded.  Two seconds!  I am so very thrilled by this new possibility.  Thanks, Gerry.

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