Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Post Christmas 2015

Christmas has come and gone for another year... and we're now into 2016.  The holidays were busy this year but that is nothing new.

This year was a year of sparse Christmas decorations.. but we did still manage to get a tree up and some "winter" decorations although it hasn't felt like winter.  Matter of fact, we've seen the warmest December in over 100 years (or as long as the 'weather people' have been tracking the weather patterns and temperatures).  The average temperature in December was 39 degrees (a good 10 degrees higher than the average).. in West Michigan.

After the hustle and bustle of multiple family holiday parties, we escaped to Northern Michigan for 3 nights.  Where you ask?  Well... an unexpected place in December... Mackinac Island.

Heading over on the Mackinaw Bridge
Arnold Line Ferry runs in the winter as long as there isn't too much ice.  I loved the Christmas tree on the bow!
Arriving in the dock on Mackinac Island
We had the absolute best time... doing... hardly anything!  We primarily relaxed and did several miles of hiking each day (with camera).  The serene landscape and the quietness of a winter's day on the island was exactly what we needed.  Only a couple hotels and restaurants are open on the island.. which makes it feel like family.  You start to run into people.. from on the ferry, to at the B & B, then at a restaurant.  You become part of a "mini temporary community".
The Govenor's Mansion
 Mackinac Island is rich with history and beauty!

Another stop along one of our hikes.. Pure Michigan
Stopped for a photo along our hike
Mackinac Island is full of picturesque landscapes
Overlooking Mission Point Resort
Arch Rock
Downtown Mackinac Island 
Playing hockey on a side street

Just a cool door!
The Grand Hotel... in the winter
If you're looking for a place to relax and unwind for a few days.. this is it!  But in the winter, you have to like the cold weather.  If you do.. this will be one memorable stay!

Monday, December 21, 2015

El Nino Christmas 2015

I like winter... and I'm not going to apologize for it.  I like snow.  I like the coziness of being bundled up in fleece and down (coats or comforters).  I love wearing scarves, mittens, hats and boots. Living in Michigan, you expect the season changes.. but when it doesn't change the way it is supposed to, it can cause some problems (especially if you have animals, pastures and landscapes).

Flowers keep going.. this photo was taken on December 14, 2015

Photo taken on December 14, 2015 
It is turning out, so far, to be a "winter to remember"... remembering how much rain we got and how warm it was.  Our rain, however, doesn't compare to what the West Coast has been getting.. flooding, mudslides and trees being uprooted from winds due to ground (water) saturation.

Here in Michigan, our pastures are muddy, the horses are too warm, and we still have insects!   It is, however, much safer to drive in.

Honeysuckle bloom on December 14, 2015
I'm afraid our front porch doesn't look that much like Christmas... but we do what we can do in spite of no snow.  Luckily at night, it looks a little more festive thanks to new LED lights.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5 - Heat Wave and Broken Record

Our old house has been decorated for Fall... or Harvest time.  I don't particularly care for Halloween or the ghastly decorations.  Plus, just decorating for "Harvest time" allows you to keep the decorations up all the way to Thanksgiving, and then it's time for Christmas.

Yesterday Grand Rapids hit a record.. 75 degrees on November 4, 2015.  Last year the temperature was in the teens with snow.  Ah yes.. Michigan.  If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.  We have some urns that still have flowers blooming in them (and they've been neglected pretty bad now for several weeks) and tonight Steve mowed the lawn while I jumped on one of the horses and rode bareback for a few minutes.  This Fall has been beautiful.. sunny and warm.  Not sure what that means in terms of our winter?

Next up... we are re-doing a room upstairs.  It will be quite different from the rest of the house, but it is getting there and will be a quiet contemplative room.