Cone processing

Out and about, I stood under a large pine (mentioned before here) and I was in a rain of cone-parts. Here’s a spent cone amidst conifer detritus.

Squirrel watching

This afternoon, after two brief rain-events (with sunshine between), I spotted this rodent eyeing the street (unfazed by my activities). Is this a belly-cooling pose?

Basil story, NorthCountry 2018

Basil ringfort

With a generous daily measure of water-added, the basil in the ringfort has been productive.


Today we harvested, and the volume was good for a giant dollop of a pesto-like sauce for a big pot of dried tortellini (not to be confused with tortelli or tortelloni…for example).

However, it is so dry weather-wise that unless there’s rain after we leave, these tender plants will NOT make it, and there’ll be no later-season harvest.

Gitchee-Gumee visit

Me n LkSuperior

Indeed, the focus of today’s expedition was seeing Lake Superior. That’s me in bug- and sun-resistant clothing. No fashion plate am I. Turns out, today, almost, close-to NO bugs in this area.


There at the mouth of Hurricane Creek we spotted two lampreys. I never remember seeing them in the wilds before. Scarred fish, yes; the critters, no. That brown “ribbon” across the middle of the frame: lamprey.

Bookstore deli

Instead of our usual return-to-Grand-Marais to lunch, we continued west and dined in a deli-coffee-bookstore in Munising. Yum. Such a lovely place.

Swan trio

On a lark, we also did the Marshland Tour at the Refuge, and of course saw many Canada geese and swans. Most of the swans were far from the car, but this wee-family was close by. I will not mention the clouds of deer flies that rode on our rear-view mirrors; such a contrast to the near bug-free conditions on the south shore of Gitchee-Gumee.

Bleater’s story (and more)

Bleater fawn

It was getting toward dusk last night when this leetle critter wandered into the yard, no mom in sight…which was disturbing to the critter, who commenced bleating. My interpretation is that the first bleats were “where are you?,” but they soon became “I’m here!” S/he bedded down under Uncle Dave’s maple, and I heard her/him in the night, but not constantly. In the morning we didn’t see her/him and hoped mom had showed up. Then, bleats around 2pm. By dinner time, Mom and the leetle one were bedded down under an apple tree out front. It’s been windy, including overnight, so the sound of the tree-leaves and grasses must have been scary-distracting to the great adventurer.

New clothesline

The Guru cut the right post yesterday from the top of the juniper that fell over the winter, and dug the hole and stood it in place today. So, we now have a clothesline again!

Bocce hoe

This evening we were invited next door to play bocce. Turns out no-one knew the rules, so we made up some. The comely dirty blonde is using a short-ish handled hoe to determine if one of the balls is within that distance of the small target ball (dirty golden, golf-ball sized), and thus the tosser gets a point. Lots of laughing and great difficulty with the uneven and fast surface. But fun!

Mugginess abates late-day

Loon fam

I went down to the lake and shucked off my shoes (and custom orthotics), and set The Foot loose in the wild. I didn’t go out far and I didn’t go under, but when I was floating butt down and digits up, just feeling a mild one-ness with the lake, I watched Lady Loon and her trio of following loon-lets glide by…ah, nature can be so uplifting.

GM ex panel

BTW, we aren’t so far out in the sticks that the future doesn’t appear here in one form or another. You may have seen pre-release vehicles, especially if you spend time near Detroit, with a strange black-and-white obfuscation “contact paper” cladding a vehicle to disguise the exact shape should someone see/photograph it. The other option is that the manufacturer sticks panels to the vehicle that cover up the shape beneath—no reconstruction of curves etc. is possible at all. Here’s what the latter vehicle looks like after the panels have been removed, with the not-quite-velcro attachment strips remaining. I’m told this vehicle was shown publicly in March, so there’s no longer any need for disguise.

John was very jealous of the bright red panic button by the dash. Does that tell you something about the state of GM engineering? haha

Evening stroll

Fern lake

On a quiet evening, a stroll can be so rewarding. The lake was quiet. [Last night we heard a loon.]

Mom n fawn

But not too quiet. Doe and fawn also out for a stroll….

Peony where ants

And the peonies are beginning to open. Just yesterday they were closed buds.

Lupine field

And the lupine field remains gorgeous. Look at the color variation. I think this year my favorites are the dark purple-blue ones and the bicolor variants.

After rains

Egg shell

I have no sense of scale, the Guru said about this shell. It was perhaps just over a centimeter long. And under an apple tree (on the sidewalk). I choose to believe that the wind/rain overnight tipped it out of the nest, leaving the already hatched wee-bird safely behind.

Fern frond over sidewalk

I admit to an outsized attraction to ferniness—not a word, I suppose, but should be! The laciness of ferns is so aesthetically appealing, is it to my reptile brain?

I did not intend to select a pair of sidewalk photos, but that’s what I did. Hmmmm.

Snow; yes, snow

Casita snow view

Darn. You can’t tell it’s snowing in the picture, even if you squint. But it was. Lazy drifting flakes. No accumulation. 😎

New leaves

I nosed around outside after I finished my packing—first of suitcases and similar, and then of the car. I wanted to get pictures of the place, memory pictures we call them. I also found clear evidence that the plants have progressed into spring in this not-quite-a-week that we’ve been here. Poplar?

Rock shop museum

Our first stop was at Cerrillos, a boom town for a bit, and now a grid of unpaved streets. We walked from the visitor center a couple of blocks to this combination rock shop and natural history/history museum. The former was free and the latter $2. We just looked at the rocks.

Petting zoo goat

Outside, we checked out the petting zoo, and this aggressive mama-to-be got plenty of happy pats from Nephew #2.

Lilacs of Cerrillos

Returning to the car I found this just-opening lilac bush and happily shoved my nose into the bee-free blossoms.

Fighting terrorism

Next stop was the Saturday packed-and-busy former ghost town of Madrid. Perhaps the best thing about the town was this bumper sticker. And that the main road was paved.

Frosted Krumholtz tree

Our final sight-seeing stop was for us a return visit to Sandia Crest. Still ice on a few of the trees, but the wind wasn’t so stiff and the temp was much higher. We shared our watermelon (of course!) snack with other folk in the parking lot, then rebounded to descend to the city.

Sandia view

I think the nephews enjoyed the view. Down in ABQ, we said our goodbyes and they headed to the airport while we headed for first-class down time. Sigh. Such good times, with many laughs and a great week of getting reacquainted. Great weather, some fine food…. Lucky us.

On, above, and near the high plains

Two bison

I haven’t mentioned wild critters so far. On day one we saw a beaver crossing the road. Pretty sure on that ID, and definitely on the location. Strange. On day two, we spotted antelopes. Not many, but they were out there in the windswept terrain. Today, we just moseyed along pretty early, and whoops, look in with those cattle…odd shapes…yup, two bison. I don’t think we will do better tomorrow and the coming days…unless…elk?

Two couches

Off in a nearly abandoned part of town, we found this pair of couches perhaps commiserating on the lousy neighborhood…or waiting for a parade?

Tamale lunch

For lunch we found a real Mexican place. I had a red and a green tamale. With a side of beans. I was stuffed. The two sauces provided were both cooked, so a real contrast to yesterday’s salsa offerings.

Baptist church

The Guru made this shot, a real grab of an abandoned ranch with a butte not far distant (I was driving; foot’s doing quite well, thank you). The sign says “Baptist Church.” Life after ranch.

Distant sandias

That line of mountains in the distance, that’s the east side of the Sandia Mountains, which are the east side of the Albuquerque basin. There’s a road to the top, very winding and slow; it passes a ski area and a parking lot signed winter play area. We took that road. It hammered our mileage even worse than the winds and gentle upgrade have over the last two days.

Iced rime

The vegetation at the top was rimed in a snow-ice combo. The wind was fierce. We made a quick walking loop, clicked a few frames, and scuttled back to the quiet of the car. And warmth; the car indicated it was 22°F outside. [Remember, we were in 104 yesterday.]

Iced rime CU

The rime was pretty thick, and one sided. The wind was strong enough to blow pieces off and we could see small white bombs scattered on the blacktop.

Flags horizontal

We headed down, garnering all the battery-energy we could. The battery level went from below zero (zero on the gauge not being empty but false empty that keeps a bit of charge in the battery at all times), to 59%. Now, that’s a downhill!

And in ABQ: yup, still windy. Supposed to slack off in the evening. Can’t wait!

Bittersweet ultimate

Causeway bridge

Today we left causeway-world. But not before we did important things.

Macro shellface

Like playing with the macro lens.

Macro sanddollar

Including looking at an eroded sand dollar, complete with sand grains.

Four pelicans

We watched birds, including the cruising small-packs of pelicans.

There was of course lots of laughing and some tale-telling. We read, we relaxed. Life was darned pleasant.

Partial rainbow

Just as we were organizing ourselves in the parking lot to depart, a rainbow section emerged.

Sigh. And now the salt-water coast is behind us.