Thursday, December 28, 2017

Winter's Arrival

Winter has arrived with a vengeance! It brought snow and bitterly cold temperatures with it. I thought I'd share just a few photos with you today.

There is a cemetery across the road from our house. During the years that we've lived here, we've observed some of the different ways people grieve the loss of loved ones. Some have annual gatherings at the grave site on the birthday or date of death of the deceased, often with balloons and flowers and other tokens of remembrance and affection. 

The first photo in today's post shows one such group that had gathered during a snowstorm on December 23, to raise their beer cans in a toast to their departed friend or family member. 

On one occasion, in the first year of their grief, this group stacked their empty beer cans around the tombstone of their friend or family member at the closing of their meeting. We haven't been over to the cemetery since the 23rd, to see if any of the cans are still there from this session.

On Christmas Day, Doug and I drove the two hours to see Doug's brother, Dennis, and take him out for a Christmas meal. Very few restaurants are open on Christmas, and we have a long-standing tradition of taking Dennis to a truck stop which never closes and is just about halfway between his home and ours. This year was a bit more challenging because the weather was terrible between Dennis' apartment and the truck stop. There were frequent snow squalls and near-white-out conditions.

I shot this through the windshield from the back seat during one such snow squall.

This is another shot, with a little better visibility.

As we returned to Dennis' home after our meal, I snapped this shot of a house that I'd noticed earlier. It looked so pretty in the snowy setting.

I hope you've all had a blessed Christmas and will have a safe and happy New Year's celebration.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Moose Lake & Christmas Lights

On December 12, Doug and I joined our church's senior group for a short drive to Moose Lake Christian Craft Village. There were 31 of us, including three who met us at our destination. There wasn't enough room on the church bus for everyone, so Doug and I drove separately and provided transportation to two other ladies who are good friends.

We ate supper at Moose Lake Village, which offers a variety of menu choices. The servers kept the snacks coming as we waited for our meals, so much so that we didn't have much appetite for the actual meals when they arrived. But they offered to-go boxes, so that solved that problem. And there were no complaints about the wait for the meals since we were eating the whole time.

The general store offers a large selection of craft items, many of which are Amish-made. Click here for a link to a write-up about Moose Lake and the variety of products and activities offered there.

Lotions and Soaps
Himalayan Salts and Scents

Amish Jar Goods
A small rustic chapel at Moose Lake

After spending a couple of hours at Moose Lake, we took a drive through the Fantasy of Lights in Fort Wayne.

Fantasy of Lights

Next, we drove through downtown Fort Wayne to see some of the lights there. At this point, we lost track of the church bus we were following and missed some of the most popular displays. But I did manage to get pictures of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge and the Lincoln Tower. 

For as long as I can remember, the Lincoln Tower has placed electric candles in every window during the Christmas season. It's a beautiful sight, which is perhaps not evident in my photo.

The white building to the right is the county courthouse. It's a gorgeous structure, full of architectural artistry, and one that I should feature on the blog sometime.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas as we all pause to remember and to celebrate the greatest Gift ever given.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

When Fall Meets Winter

Saturday brought a little over an inch of snow, our first measurable accumulation this season. Our oak tree had finally released most of its leaves during the few days preceding the snow, but Doug hadn't been able to burn them due to high winds. Well, the winds were calm on Saturday, so Doug went out to burn the snow.

A child's toy left out in the snow in the yard behind ours. 
That's another neighbor's boxer in the background (not a deer).
Snow on the crabapples
White Pine

Our Back Yard Swing

More snow is in the forecast. Fall and winter have met, and winter has won.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More from the Smokies

The dreary weather was still with us on Wednesday, November 8, when we decided to visit the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We again entered the park by way of Wears Valley and the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. Or, I should say, we tried to enter that way.

Just before reaching the picnic area, we encountered a semi which had tried to maneuver its way down the winding mountain road and had become hopelessly stuck on one of the curves. The road is narrow, so our only alternative was to back up a quarter of a mile or so until we reached a small pull-out, providing access to a hiking trail, where we could turn around and drive back out to a public highway.

Stuck Truck
One of the things that contributes to the beauty of the Smoky Mountains is the presence of an abundance of rivers and streams which flow beside roadways and hiking trails all through the park. We found the rivers at Tremont running strong.

Following is a short video clip, that will allow you to hear the sound of the river pictured above.

As we began a short hike up the Middle Prong Trail, we saw a man carrying a rubber raft. His intent was obvious. He planned to raft down that river. Well, we had to hang around to see how that went.

You can see for yourself in the following video clip.

After our hike, as we returned to our car, the rafter was just loading his raft onto the roof of his truck and preparing to leave. We approached him to let him know that we'd gotten some photos and videos of his ride down the river. We gave him our contact information in case he wanted copies. 

While we were talking, two other guys unloaded kayaks from their vehicle and started toward the river. Aaron, the rafting guy, asked if he could join them. They welcomed him, so Doug and I got set to take some more pictures and video of the three of them.

Following is a short video clip of Aaron and his new friends.

We were losing daylight by the time we left Tremont, but we wanted to work in a visit to the Sinks, since the water everywhere seemed to be flowing well. The Sinks is always a pretty place to visit, but especially during good water flow.

The path pictured above leads past a recently constructed official overlook at the Sinks to a view that's much better than what the overlook provides. Doug got the following photo from up there, with the video camera. My camera wasn't handling the low light very well.

The Sinks

There was a group of four guys with kayaks preparing to enter the river on the far side of the bridge and then ride their kayaks over the waterfall. The video of the action is below. It's almost two minutes long, but it's fun to watch.

We never get tired of the Smokies. There's always something new to see and experience.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Late Fall Trip to the Smokies

Our summer was so full of doctor appointments that we were unable to schedule any travel until the week of November 5-10; and we took that opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, a favorite destination for us.

The first four pictures were shot on a drizzly morning in Wears Valley, just outside the national park.

The Little River from the bridge at Metcalf Bottoms
Along Newfound Gap Road
Mingus Mill
Trees along Newfound Gap Road
A Viewing Platform along Newfound Gap Road, during a brief period of sunshine

The view from the viewing platform pictured in the previous image

We were in the Smokies for four full days, and it was rainy and dreary almost the entire time. The photos of the trees beside the road and of the viewing platform were taken during a very brief period of sunshine.

We love the Smokies, though, so the weather didn't dampen our spirits. The rain was never so bad that we couldn't get out into the park and walk some of the trails. The photos in this post were all from our first day there. I'll have a few more in a future post or two.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Here And There

These are a few more images from October, the first two from our yard and the last three from a visit to Doug's brother, Dennis, in Michigan.

The leaves pictured above were caught in one of those long webs that stream through the air in the fall, seemingly attached to nothing except your face when you walk into one. The leaves looked like a small kite, floating to and fro in the wind. Doug spotted them and suggested I get my camera. I'm glad he did.

Since I had the camera out anyway, I walked around the yard to see what else might suggest a photo. The crabapple tree seemed a likely choice.

The tree is loaded with fruit this year and will provide food for the birds and squirrels this winter.

The following three photos were taken on October 28, during a trip to Michigan to visit Dennis.

The fall colors were so pretty as we took Dennis on a scenic drive of the back roads near his home. The image quality of the above photo isn't the greatest, but it's not too bad considering that I was shooting through the windshield from the back seat. 

We visited John Wilson Park in June, and I wanted to come back and see what it looked like in the fall. I was glad we did.

The Greenfield House in Athens, Michigan

On our way to John Wilson Park, we passed this house and that beautiful tree. It was close to the park, so I just walked a few more steps to get this photo.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

October Beauty

The photos today were all taken October 21, the first four at Ouabache State Park and the last two on our way home that evening.

Common Buckeye Butterfly

I've admired other bloggers' photos of the Common Buckeye many times but had never seen one myself until this day. It made my day.

The photo above may look familiar. It's the same path pictured in my last post but taken 11 days later and showing a bit more fall color.

The picture above shows a little fall color across the "lake." The lake has begun to fill again, but slowly. Still, the Canada geese seem encouraged.

A Closer Look at Some Autumn Leaves

The photo above shows the sunset as we started home that night. The one below shows the same sunset in its dying glory.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An Early Fall Assortment

These photos are all from early October, as the fall colors were just beginning to show themselves.

Part of a Trail at Ouabache State Park
A Busy Bee 


Early Fall Color
Luke Bryan Farm Tour - New Haven, Indiana - 2017

We took a different route home from the park that night, driving down some back country roads; and our route took us by a farm where Luke Bryan was performing a concert. Judging from the amount of traffic on those back roads, the concert must have been well attended...but many were arriving late due to the traffic jams.

Maples United Methodist Church

Not far from the location of the Luke Bryan concert was Maples United Methodist Church. The image of the church was a drive-by shot. It looked so pretty in the late-afternoon sun, with the ripened soybean field in the foreground, that I just had to try for a photo.

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