Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starry, Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh painted this.

Don McLean wrote this beautiful, empathetic song about the deeply troubled artist.

Starry, starry night
Paint your pallet blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land
And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now
Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds of violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of China blue
Colors change in hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.
And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
Perhaps they'll listen now
For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you
Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget
Like the stranger that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow
And now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They're not listening still
Perhaps they never will
I will let artists and songwriters speak for themselves.  For my part a starry sky evokes a healthy ache inside me.  We were created for eternity.
A passing car.

The Big Dipper circles the North Star.

If you click on this to enlarge it, you will see that the stars have different colors.

Some are even red.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Trip to Marquette

Working with the toolbox

Somebody did a face plant on  the sidewalk today.

This little girl has been home at mealtimes.

Everything they say about grandchildren is true.  You will know when you hold yours.
A frosty morning walk around Presque Isle

Ice on a puddle.

I pushed the chariot up the hill in order to warm up.

We saw four deer in this area.

Smile for Marja-mummu?

Mik's girls

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Elf who Lives Next Door

A little elf  has taken up residence next door.

She likes to smile...

...and go for walks

...and visit the neighbors

Baaaa...where's the hay?

Mmmm...momma's milk, the perfect après ski beverage!

Teaching grandpa some new tricks.

After the Storm

Hmmm...where are the birds?

Icelandic sheep understand that there is no such thing as bad weather if your clothing is warm enough.

Believe it or not, the kale and spinach are doing just fine in the greenhouse.

This winter I finally wised up and put sticks along my path to the sheepshed.  If you step off the trodden path you are up to your crotch in snow.

Savu's house.

Siberian huskies thrive in cold weather.

C'mon, let's play tag!

Mankind owes a considerable debt to whomever invented the snowplow.

Sam cleaning out his yard with a snowblower.

Looking to be a clear day.

Snow laden boughs are beautiful, but it's nice when the sun and wind eventually blows it down.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Under a starry sky and a half moon

It was cold and clear and my fingers got cold working the camera, but you can get amazing pictures with an extended exposure and your camera on a tripod.

My old  friend, Orion.  I spent many an evening in his company back when I had a small team of dogs and went dogsledding at night.  He drops below the horizon during the summer.


We heat our house mostly with wood, burning about 5-6 cords of wood every year in our parlor stove, so every other year I order an 11 cord logging truck load of logs from my friend Linsdsay

Lindsay works just about around the clock right before the spring breakup - when the county puts the load restrictions on the roads and he can no longer haul logs.  Of course, all his firewood customers like me  want their logs before the breakup.  March is a good time to saw logs, much better than May.

Lindsay knows his business.  He deftly maneuvers that long boom and makes it look the  claw is just an extension of his hand.

I'd like to say this is the fun part, but frankly it's hard work.  I once figured that it takes me about 20 fills of gas in the chainsaw to buck up a load of logs into splitting lengths.   You wind up wrestling heavy logs into position and then throwing the blocks into a pile.  I usually saw two gasoline fills worth of logs in an evening and sharpen the chain after each fill.  It takes about a week or so to get back into shape for this work.

Once this part is finished, we still have to split the wood and stack it for drying.  In the fall it has to be hauled into the basement and stacked again.  Then it has to be hauled upstairs to the parlor stove.  Later the ashes have to be removed...wood heats you in many ways.
So why do I do it?  I guess I'm just plain dumb, but like they say in Canada, if you're gonna be dumb you better be tough,  and making firewood does toughen you.  Besides, I can heat the house and sauna for a couple of years for a thousand bucks.  That's the main reason.  But I have to admit that there's a real satisfaction in seeing that log pile disappear.  It feels good to do physical work.  Our bodies were made to do physical work, not just sit to behind a computer and talk on the phone.  People have forgotten that the word digital is derived from digits, your ten fingers.  The human hand is one of the greatest marvels in all of creation, and certainly can be used for more than swiping a touch screen.  So in may own way I am promoting a true digital - ie. manual - revolution.  Work with your hands and work up an honest sweat.  You'll  have something to show for it at the end of the day, and you'll sleep better too.