What Doesn’t Belong in Long Lake


I don’t golf.  I accept it as a good game, just not my game.  I have passing familiarity with the sport’s current stars.  I spent Sunday afternoons with my dad while the hushed voice of some British-accented commentator filled in the spaces in our own conversation.  Think of all that as background.  I understand that those who play the game sometimes need to practice hitting balls.  I thought that is what driving ranges are for.  Why blast the balls into the lake?  No one is going to retrieve them.  I don’t know exactly what they are made out of, but they don’t melt away once they find their final watery resting place.  They are littering our clear lake’s lake bottom and that’s a shame.  I used to think that at  least they are too big to hurt our lake creatures.  Nothing would try to eat one, I thought.  Then I saw a snapping turtle with a mouth big enough to swallow a small eastern seaboard state in Ghost Bay and I wondered if it  might think one of the white ones is an egg of some sort and scarf it down.

Victorian Girl, With Hearts Knitted into her Bloomers

img_2912_lowresI believe this is an old, old McCall’s pattern.  In the original, she was rather Amish looking, decked out in shades of brown and black (though an Amish doll would not have had facial features).  I decided I wanted to spiff her up a bit.  She has hearts knitted into her bloomers.  Except for the hat, the clothing is my design.  Under her hat, she still wears the pattern’s originally-designed knitted hairdo: long hair parted in the middle, done up with a bun in back.  I added an “I-cord” detail all around the wig, to give it a bit more definition at the edges.  A fun project.  She was the second in a series, with the first one given away to a school fund raiser auction.

Knitted Cher and Clown Couple


This was a Classic Elite pattern from about twenty years ago that I knitted almost that long ago.  It might have been called “Ethnic Dolls.”   I adapted the pattern for the girl, somewhat, and ended up with sort of an ethnic version of Cher.  Her buddy, well, he’s truer to the pattern and looks pretty goofy.  Mostly I think it’s the hat that doesn’t really flatter him.  As I recall, the work was fun but a bit too fiddly.  And the stuffing, well that was a bear.  I always stuff my dolls and creatures with unspun wool, which is easier to work with than polyester fiber-fill, but the spindly arms and legs were tough to stuff.

Ghost Bay Raccoons


When you paddle in to Ghost Bay quietly in your kayak, sometimes you are rewarded by seeing stuff you definitely don’t see down state. I’d met this family on an earlier visit. Then, the three kits were stacked up neatly and vertically like the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” gang. They were hiding in plain sight not quite behind a smallish cedar tree on the shore of the bay. Quite a bunch, with their bandit masks and all. Mom was drinking when I arrived and she scampered up the same cedar tree. But the little ones must have been curious. We examined each other for a few minutes. The next weekend, Steve snapped this photo. I think it’s the three kits, but I’m not sure. Mostly my exposure to raccoons has been to wage the urban battle of keeping them out of garbage cans. I gave up and moved the garbage cans into the garage.

Once, when I was little and staying at my grandparents’ farm near Litchfield, I woke up to a terrible commotion of dogs and a loud cry that to me sounded for all the world like a baby crying. After a bit the crying stopped and so did the barking. In the morning my grandfather found a dead raccoon that had been killed by the dogs. They weren’t our dogs. I don’t care much for dogs. But I know I can’t hold them all responsible for one hot night a long time ago when I waited to find out who was OK and who wasn’t.

A Double Rainbow Day


This is the place. Nothing too fancy. This is the view from the lakeshore. Our Wilderness System Pungos are waiting for the next paddle. My aunt and I were peddling back from near the narrows, on the paddleboat, when it started to gently rain. As we were almost home, we saw it. The arc of a great rainbow framing the cottage. And, above it, a faint but definite visual echo of the rainbow. This is Michigan, folks. Rainbows aren’t all that frequent. Doubles are rarely seen. If you look very close, in the corner of the porch, you’ll see a small figure in a red sweatshirt. That’s my mom Clare. This was her last weekend on Long Lake. It was the fall of 2008. She died a few months later in early December, after a brief illness. This is the Clare who taught me to knit. The Clare who sewed 15 years of Halloween costumes for Dan and most of her four granddaughters. She was on an exercise bike at the hospital rehab center on Tuesday and died on Friday surrounded by her sister, her sons, and me. So this is a special photo in a lot of ways. She was a good woman and we miss her. It was a beautiful double rainbow day.