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Song of Spring

Courting cardinals

It must be love

There are three things I look for every year that herald’s the coming of spring – a chorus of spring peepers, a singing cardinal, and the phoebe’s arrival. Sometimes they occur in that order, sometimes you have to wait a bit for the peepers.

It was a crisp and cold walk this morning from the car to the office, with blue sky and barely a breeze.  Right on cue, I heard my first song of spring – a male cardinal singing his heart out by McKamley Chapel.  It happens like that every spring.  Always on a brilliant blue morning, I hear my first cardinal of spring at the same spot, same tree.

I’ll have to wait awhile for the first phoebe.  Usually they wake me up on a sunny (weekend) morning in April declaring they have returned to raise another family.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy the cardinals song.

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Going in Circles

This is the Logan Foamwerks Circle Cutter. If you have to cut, say 44 3-inch circles out of foam core board, this little beauty is worth EVERY PENNY you pay for it.

Of course, it’s even better if you can get it on sale.

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"Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Julie
rose and dressed herself. She tied her shoes on to her comely feet,
girded her purse about her shoulder, and left her house looking like
an immortal goddess." - Homer, The Odyssey, Book II, sort of.
Dawn's Rosy Fingers

Dawn's Rosy Fingers

Well most of that is true – I confess my feet aren’t comely.

Every once-in-awhile the morning sky is particularly magnificant, like this picture of the sky on Nov 29 (thanks Margaret).

This is the kind of sky that always brings to mind Homer’s “rosy-fingered dawn”.  Watching the coming of the dawn is one of the nice things about November and December.  I love the color changes as the sun rises, particularly that narrow, short lived horizontal band of green  you can see on a clear, crisp morning.

Lately, however, my morning drive to campus contains a companion in the sky to the East.  Venus morning star.  It follows me to work and then sits over Kanley Chapel for a short while.

Star light; Star bright; First star I see ..

Venus and Jupiter

Sometimes Jupiter hangs around too, but not lately. Look for Jupiter by the moon.

(The picture is from NASA)

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I was certain I was going to have a Midwest accent. Instead, I’m an Island North…and while I’m from MI and not WI, the description matches.

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak “Standard English straight out of the dictionary” but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like “Are you from Wisconsin?” or “Are you from Chicago?” Chances are you call carbonated drinks “pop.”

The Northeast
The South
The Midland
Philadelphia
North Central
The West
Boston
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

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Thunderstorms

Tree down just north of AB Avenue on 12 Street, Kalamazoo, MI

Tree down just north of AB Avenue on 12 Street, Kalamazoo, MI

Since I have a picture, I guess I should post it. Last week we had very very severe thunderstorms and a tremendous wind sheer that knocked down trees and powerlines all over. I was at Stitching Bits and Bobs for their Wednesday Sit-and-stitch when it came down. The ten minute trip home took me at least an hour – I had to make 7 detours to get home, there were so many trees in the road. Here is a picture of one of them…

And here is a picture of the limb that fell across my driveway.

Storm Damage

Storm Damage

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The Humblebee’s Buzz

— Bumble bee: from the old verb bumble to boom or buzz. Also known as humblebees.

Classified in the Genus Bomus, the bumblebee’s buzz is truely a rite of spring. The buzz is especially pronounced in bumblebees, as they must warm up their bodies considerably to get airborne at low ambient temperatures.

As you walk in the woods watch and listen. In the spring the queen bees emerge and begin foraging for nectar. Queen bees have longer tongues than worker bees of the same species and can take advantage of the nectar in long tubed flowers like Dutchman Breeches and Squirrel Corn. Look carefully however, you’ll often see holes in the tops of both these flowers. These are made by “robber bees” with shorter tongues. They have learned to take a short cut to the nectar! Darwin even noticed this in his journals.

Above is a pinkeep I stitched for a family member under the weather. It is from the Jan ’07 issue of The Gift of Stitching from Little House/Country Cottage Needleworks. I replaced the DMC threads with Crescent Colours Overdyed. You know I could never keep Little House and Country Cottage Needleworks apart. Now I know why. The designers are mother and daughter.

I also thought I’d post some progress on Chatelaine’s Mystery X. I have 1/4 of Part 6 done, but don’t have a picture of it yet.

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