The Big Show

We’ve historically traveled fairly far afield of home in search of fall beauty. We head for the drumlins in Antrim county, or the bridges stretching across the Manistee River closer to its mouth, or we just try to find something new. And I’m not writing any of that off – it’s all lovely. But this year, we’ve looked closer to home. (The trip to the U.P. doesn’t count – it was just a fun trip, not a fall color tour 😉 )

Just across the road, and in my backyard

Deliberately trying to do less driving (again, the U.P. doesn’t count!) means we’ve been appreciating what’s near more. Finding new little places, rediscovering old ones is good for the heart – a good reminder in its way that the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else.

Trees, barn, hillside all a stone’s throw southeast

This hillside is definitely greener – and it’s on this side.
Rapid City hillside
Rapid City barn

Autumn’s brilliance is the season finale preceding a long, dark winter. It’s certainly not all dreary, but looking at it from this side through seemingly endless days of hail and rain, it can seem that way.

View overlooking Skegemog and Elk Lakes, a couple miles south

Chain of Lakes overlook pano

Luckily, after the bright colors wave their goodbyes, we’ll have other things to light the end of the tunnel.

Enjoying the reflections at Rugg Pond, waiting for the moonrise

Hunters Moon Rising

Country Living

We helped Jim and Jess complete the move to their new house today. Things went exceptionally well – in fact, it was the smoothest move in which we’ve participated, and we’ve lived in five states – even though this weekend is the opening of the Cherry Festival. Tonight when we returned to our home, only the sound of crickets greeted us. The country sings the song of my soul. Ahhhh 🙂

Click any photo for a slideshow with larger versions

A Visit to Stone Gate Farm

I’ll be brief: my neighbors rock. They share conversations, lend us tools, help on patio renovations, plow the drive, and now they’ve even let me come over to photograph their red barns in the snow…and all I do is share baked goods as a thank you. They must think their neighbors do not rock. More treats must be in order.

The other night on Facebook, I unceremoniously invited myself over to their place. To Gary: “I meant to send you an email earlier about pics…as in, can I come over and take snowy photos of your barn?” His reply: “Any time Heather, no invitation is ever needed…!” See? They are awesome. I suited up at noon and walked over for lunch…which you might think would give road crews enough time to clear the road. Nope. Snow pants and boots were in order.

I traipsed down their driveway for a few shots, slogged out through the snow for some more, and then crossed into the pines on the edge of the property for a couple more. Satisfied, I waved to Jill (had I known she was home, I would’ve happily chatted), and returned home for a bite.

The day was so spectacular though, that I soon found myself back in my snow gear for the four miles around the block – this time having waited long enough for the plow. The surface wasn’t too bad, but I was regularly pelted by tufts of snow blowing out of the trees. As I crested the last rise, Gary pulled up beside me in his truck. When he asked if I had stopped by, I replied that I had, but that I’d be back since the light was better.

I stayed home for the rest of the day, finishing up the work I had left to go walking. After dinner we took a quick drive, but I wasn’t camera-compelled until sunset. Sunset! We had one! We’re seeing these more often now – perhaps spring is on the way…though it didn’t look much like it as I trudged through deep snow for the pictures. It was worth it 😉

In which I run, and ski, and photograph the in betweens

Just when I had resigned myself to staying inside for the remainder of my blue-sky Friday, the snowplow went by, clearing the way for an afternoon walk. I suited up appropriately and then left the house. Less than a half mile through the four-mile trek, I decided to try running half of it. I wasn’t dressed great for a run – too warm in my down coat among other added layers – but I was eager to try the Yak Trax for the first time, and if you’re a runner (or a previous runner), then you know how strong the pull is once the idea has crept into your brain. However, it’s been…well I don’t know how long it’s been. Suffice it to say it’s been a while since I’ve run because even though we have a treadmill, the only thing it gets used for is cool-downs from other workouts. And because I don’t like to run miles through melty, squishy snow, or in snow drifts. So, I settled for two miles so that I wouldn’t get overheated, and because we had planned to ski Saturday morning (I didn’t want to overdo it). Continue reading