Entries to Win Afghan

If you like my books, essays, etc. you might want to put your name on this private email list (no spam ever) for advance notices, coupons, and occasional freebies. Tell your friends too! Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Previous gifts include a short story, a poem and a half-off coupon for the newest book. Sign up, and don't miss out!"
Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Friday, May 26, 2017

More Crochet Fun

Today was extra long at work, and of course I go back in an hour or so. Just going to share a few more fun crocheted items.

crocheted mats

Now we wait to see if any of this stuff sells. I have a gift for picking things I think are cute that no one else wants. But I'm having a good time and deluding myself into thinking I'm being productive (half kidding... I really hope some things sell).

See Chilling and Crocheting
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Thursday, May 25, 2017


Back to Ohio for another trillium. This one is sessile trillium, or toadshade, Trillium sessile. I suppose one might find a little toad hiding from the sun beneath the broad leaves. Or maybe the mottled leaves are supposed to look like a toad. But that doesn't help much when you discover many mottle species as I did in Alabama. Sure glad we had a local wildflower enthusiast with us to help with names on that trip.

photo label

Until my trip to Alabama in the spring a couple of years ago, I did not appreciate how many similar trilliums there are with mottled leaves and dark red flowers. I think I would remember the differences next time I find some in the woods.

The similar ones I'm likely to find in the north are toadshade and prairie trillium. I've seen both, but don't have a picture of the prairie one. The big difference is that toadshade has broad leaves that don't narrow to the attachment point. That's easy to remember- they make better shade for that toad! The sepals on toadshade often remain upright with the petals (just not on this particular one), but on prairie trillium they curve strongly downward- between the leaves even, so that they sort of hug the stem. That's distinctive.

Now I want to go find more trilliums!

But not tonight. I slept poorly last night (no reason I can think of), and work was long and hard. Headed to bed really soon because Friday is... well... longer and harder.

See similar trilliums in Alabama
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Little Beauty Goes a Long Way

Sometimes all I need is a little tiny bit of beauty to make me smile and everything is right. Work today was heavy-duty. Although everyone said it was chilly outside, I was sweaty and hot even with the small door open.

Then the guys opened the big door to load the truck for the Oceana County run. When they pulled the truck away the door got left open for a while. It started to rain outside, really hard.

I just loved the view of this maple, leafing out, through the rain, through the door, beyond the pallets and "stuff." Lifted my spirits for the whole rest of the shift.

maple tree through rain

See Rain on a Small Roof
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Nodding Trillium

I still have more Ohio wildflowers to share. Ohio in the spring never disappoints! Today we have nodding trillium, Trillium cernuum, which you could see in Michigan or pretty much anywhere in the NE US. But I don't see it very often!

nodding trillium

It's easy to recognize, because the white flower nods below the leaves, and the petals are recurved. I guess the stamens are usually purple, but I haven't paid enough attention in the past to know if they always are. Everything else about this plant screams T. cernuum, so I'm sticking with that diagnosis.

nodding trillium

Let's talk Latin. Cernuum (sir-NEW-um) means having the face inclined toward the earth, eg. bowing or nodding. So whenever you see a plant name with that word (or cernuus or cernua), it's probably going to have a nodding or downward aspect. I tried to find a modern word that comes from that root as a memory aid, but didn't have any luck. We'll just have to remember it, cold.

There are about 50 species of trillium, and I now have eight in my plant photo pages. And there is one more yet coming to you from Ohio!

See Trilliums in Alabama
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Manistee National Forest Challenge Hike #2

Actually, I never posted about hike #1, because I was still doing accounts of the Ohio hike. Anyway, this is the second in a series of 13 hikes through the summer and fall. Those who participate in every one will have hiked all 120 miles of the North Country Trail in the Manistee National Forest when we finish.

North Country Trail

Today there were 10 of us. Here's the requisite group photo. It's really just an easy way to document who came.

hiking group

The morning was rainy, but according the radar the storms had passed over, and sure enough we got sun and blue sky! Perfect hiking temperatures too, in the low 60s. A few people had signed up but then didn't show. They sure missed a great day.

blue sky

I doubt that the Forest Service planned for this barrier to be a bench, but it made a great place for a rest stop.

North Country Trail hikers

We covered 11 miles of trail and only about a half mile was roadwalk. Here's the crossing of the White River. The last time I hiked this piece it really was raining. Everything was gray and the people were covered with ponchos. So it was nice to see it in sun.

North Country Trail White River

Near the end of our hike we crossed the much smaller Rattlesnake Creek.

North Country Trail Rattlesnake Creek

Red pine plantations aren't considered very good management practice any more, but they always make for good pictures.

North Country Trail

One of the best parts of today's hike for me is that many of the spring wildflowers are now opening. Here are my best pictures of the day.


Jack in the Pulpit

Gaywings (not an orchid, but they sure look like one).


Wood Betony or Lousewort. Flowers may be yellow, maroon or a mixture like these. I thought this top-down view made them look like firecracker pinwheels.

wood betony

And all along the way the pink lady slipper orchid was blooming. Always a favorite.

pink lady slipper

Even though we got a late start our pace was good and we finished the 11 miles in about 3.5 hours with three rest stops. Everyone had a great time. Nine of the ten people also came to the first hike, so potentially those nine people could do all the Manistee this year. Of course anyone could "make up" a missed hike on their own.

See pictures from the first hike on Facebook
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