I’m Hopeless

Even after watching this video I still can’t pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

It is a catchy tune, the pictures in the video are beautiful, but I’m still hopeless.

That’s why I’m so impressed by this weatherman who didn’t skip a beat when he had to pronounce it:


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Pine Cone

Last Friday when we went up to the land, Andy pointed out the pine cone on the limber pine Beate and Tim gave him a couple of years ago.



By Thursday evening the pine cone had started to open:


How exciting is that?!


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Another Picnic

We took advantage of the beautiful late-summer day to have another picnic on the land yesterday afternoon/evening. The vegetation is getting ready for winter — the grass is turning yellow, and the aspens are starting to look dull. So far it has been too warm for the aspens to develop their sometimes spectacular yellow fall colors.


There are still some wildflowers, but they are starting to give up too.



It was fun to see how much things have changed in only six days. Another memorable evening.


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Preparing for Winter

Tuesday the fellow came up to refill our propane tank, and Andy has been busy chopping wood for the winter.



He’s hoping to chop another stack like the one above. That would be three times the amount he burned last winter — they’re predicting El Niño will bring plenty of snow, and his solar heating system doesn’t work well when there’s no sun.

Are you doing anything special to prepare for the changing season?


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No App for That

A recent Glasbergen cartoon shows a father saying to his kid with a smart phone,

Something to make the world look sane again — is there an app for that?

Unfortunately there isn’t, but thanks to the internet I don’t feel quite so helpless. I especially like Charity Navigator, a great resource when we want to donate money but want to make sure it goes to the people we want to help. The crisis in Syria is just one example:

As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that it now represents the largest displacement crisis in the world, with over half the population forced out of their homes. Of the 12.2 million people requiring humanitarian aid, 4 million live as refugees in nearby countries — including Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan — while another 7.6 million remain inside Syria. Nearly half the people affected by the conflict — 5.6 million — are children. The Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war depend upon humanitarian aid for food, clothing and shelter. The highly-rated charities listed here are providing these services and more (such as medical assistance and schooling for children).

Be sure to consider what it is that you want your donation to accomplish and to find a charity offering that specific type of aid. To do that, simply click on the charity’s name and view its rating page (where you can learn about its Financial Health, Accountability & Transparency). Once you are satisfied with its rating, then you can jump to the charity’s website (we link to each charity’s site from its ratings page) to learn more specifically about the type of assistance the charity is providing in relation to the Syrian crisis.

I especially like the part, “Be sure to consider what it is that you want your donation to accomplish and to find a charity offering that specific type of aid.” We may not be able to do much, but it’s better than nothing. Good information of this sort is invaluable.


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Our apartment complex changed owners last year, and the new management has been making a lot of changes. The big one so far for us has been the new double-pane windows, and as people move out they have been updating the apartments before the new tenants move in. (That won’t affect us, because we’re not about to move.)

They’re also allowing tenants to have cats and dogs now, which so far Andy and I think is a plus. The dogs have been very quiet, and it’s fun to see some of the tenants walking them.

They had said they were going to have a dog park for the canines, but it was still a surprise when I looked out my bedroom window the other day. Before I would see bushes and small trees — an apricot tree had grown enough so the top leaves were about the height of my window sill here on the second floor. But no longer. Most of the trees have been cut down and the area has been covered with wood chips:



Presumably as soon as they put a fence around the area the park will be open. I think it should be fun to look down and see dogs running around, as long as they’re not too noisy. I will let you know. :)


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Modern Technology II

The abuse of drones is one part of modern technology I would love to see stopped. For instance, drone fishing:

What about you?


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Modern Technology I

There are some things I don’t like about modern technology, but unlike Pig I do love parts of it.

Kaitlin and Torben always drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan whenever there is a home game in the University of Michigan football stadium. And today the game was being televised nationally, so I turned it on. I didn’t know where Kaitlin and Torben were sitting, so I texted them with my new cell phone. They told me Section 18, so I went to the internet, found a stadium map, and located their section. They also told me where the student section (easily recognized by all the pompoms) was. So as I watched the game I knew approximately where Kaitlin and Torben were sitting. How cool was that? (We were also able to chat a bit via text.)

One of modern life’s little miracles.


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A Visit to the Land

We had dinner up on the land yesterday afternoon so I could see the work Andy, Orlando, and Larry did this past week. Here are a couple of views of the old driveway, where they tried sloping the road so the water would run off the side rather than making gullies down the road. In both pictures Andy is looking at one of the channels they made at intervals to let the water run down the hill away from the road.



The colors in this picture of the house as we were walking up the driveway seem a bit strange, but it was the golden light of late afternoon. I’m continually amazed at all the vegetation now.


These pictures of the wildflowers and greenery around the house aren’t very sharp, but they again show all the vegetation we have after the wet spring and summer.




Needless to say, it was a beautiful afternoon and a great trip.


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More Roadwork

Andy, Orlando, and Larry worked on our part of the road today, first digging out the basins of all of the culverts up to the house, then installing a new culvert toward the bottom of the road.





When they finished they still had 2¼ hours of machine time left, so they worked on the road behind the brown gate.


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