Saturday, September 19, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Alone This Time

I've been alone at the lake over the years more times than I can remember but this time is harder. It's just that I miss having Rick here. But that said, he got his Covid test results and he's OK. So home soon, and it will be good to be able to be with him without a mask again!

I'm mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am heartbroken. Can 2020 get any worse? Don't answer that. A pandemic. Wild fires. Hurricanes. An election. Racial unrest. And now this. No words. Just great sadness for the loss of a remarkable woman, a life well lived who defended the rights of not only women but of all people. I shudder to imagine the upcoming weeks.

I only got one painting day in up here, so far. It has been too cold on the porch and the light inside isn't that great. And you kind of want warm fingers to paint. I may give it a go later today. We'll see. No, this isn't Lizzie. She belongs to someone else.


But I did score some beautiful tomatoes at the farmer's market. Only four stands this time. So, I'll warm up the house with some tomato sauce cooking! And for dinner tonight, make this from Jenna's blog.


 (By the way, if you follow The Painted Apron, you know Jenna had some damage on her home as Hurricane Sally landed in her community big time -- it was all over the news. So think lovely thoughts. Meanwhile, Shoreacres (Linda) tells me Hurricane Beta may be headed toward her area of Texas. Hold onto your hats. And while we're at it, also think lovely thoughts for those in California who are dealing with the effects of the wildfires.) 

Meanwhile, it's cold up here! Good fireplace weather, although the days warm up enough for walks or outside stuff. I've been putting things away in the garage for winter. We're not closing yet but some things just won't be used again this summer.

Here's a look at my fall mantel. I really don't bother to decorate for fall up here much because we aren't here all that long into the season before closing. But I couldn't resist a couple of pumpkins for the porch and a little bit of love inside.


I love this frame, a gift from a good friend. Dad belongs at the lake. Always has, always will. And he's right by my collection of feathers from my walks. 


I think I've showed my "Dad" wreath, with his collection of fishing lures.


And of course, pine cones and pumpkins help tell the season.


It's definitely pumpkin season. On the way up I picked up some pumpkins from this "honesty truck." The pumpkins are reasonably priced and always a nice selection.


I took a little drive yesterday on my way to get fireplace wood. Well, actually, it was way OUT of the way for getting the wood -- I stopped there on the way back. Our color is quite spotty still.


But there are bright patches. 


This is Deadman's Hill. It looks pretty green right now, but give it a week or two and it will be blaze of color. It overlooks a very steep valley. In 1910, during the logging years a young lumberjack was driving his team and big wheels loaded with logs down a steep slope and was killed. It was one of several fatal accidents in the area. This is its highest point and the view is spectacular.

 There are lovely trails here -- Rick wants to go backpack to the bottom and I hope he really enjoys it! Meanwhile, I'll be happy to be in my cozy house with a stack of books.


And a little friend.


I will be savoring the sunsets...


And celebrating the Big Pumpkin.


It's a short season.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: It's Beginning to Get to Me

The past few weeks have felt very disconcerting to me. I'm back at the lake, quarantining from Rick. Or maybe he's quarantining from me. Either way, I don't like it.

If you look at some of the Covid maps, Michigan is getting in the red again and a big chunk of that red is in Lansing where we live. You can thank the Michigan State University students for that, partying down with big groups, no masks or distancing. At the beginning of summer, our county had about 750 cases since March. In three months we now have over 3,000, over 1,000 in the past two weeks. Four times more in the past three months than in the first three months of lockdown. Fraternities, sororities and group living are in mandated quarantine; other students are advised to do so.

photo: Click On Detroit
 
But hey, let's have Big 10 Football again, because the kids really like it. And some others. But at what price?

I will say people are being relatively  good about masks -- it's a mandate to wear one if you want to go into a store. (Of course, the clerk at Tractor Supply up here had his hanging below his nose and a few customers didn't have them, but by and large it's pretty good.) 

Try finding toilet bowl cleaner. Anywhere. And if you have rusty water as we do at the lake, good luck finding the "rust and lime" version. (Hence the visit to Tractor Supply where I scored the last bottle.) Shelves are empty. But toilet paper is in good shape, I'm pleased to say. Get it now while it lasts!

Wipes are hard to come by too. But I did score some Lysol spray. 

Oh, and here's a tip. If you are stocking up on hand sanitizer, read the ingredients. The one below is only 62.5 percent alcohol. That's not enough.


It must be at least 70 percent to be fully effective. At least, that's what they said at the beginning. Now I'm hearing this would be OK -- but my doc friend said go with 70 percent. So, unless I can't get anything else, that's what I'll do.

So, why are Rick and I quarantining? Or rather, why is he? Well, he went to visit the Toddler Twosome and had a wonderful day. But he didn't know till he got there that Molly had been to a bridal shower that morning. Now, she said it was masked (till eating) and distanced because the bride has immune issues, too. But there were four people seated at eight-top tables for eating and that's too close. When Rick and the kids all had dinner later, they were eating inside at a small table.


That would maybe have been enough to start our time-out, but the day before, he got a flat and a fellow kindly gave him a ride home. Neither were masked. Too close.

It was recommended we stay apart -- ten feet outside with masks for two weeks. He will get tested this week but was told to wait several days to ensure it might be more accurate. Good luck getting in the VERY long drive-thru lines, lines you can't even see the end of, and probably filled largely with students and people from the U who were in their path.

(The best thing about that day was talking on the phone to our little guy peeking out of the bike cab. We actually had a conversation, which isn't bad for a kid two years and two months. It wasn't a deep conversation. We didn't discuss politics. But he called me by name and said "I love you," (I think) and that was good enough for me!) 

The thing that is getting to me is the never-ending pace. I get horribly angry at conspiracy theorists and Covid deniers. Yes. For some, it will be no worse than a flu. Some won't even know they have it. But for others, if they don't die, and many have and will, there will likely be lifelong physical complications of lungs, liver and heart. There's a selfishness to all of it. And yes, we're all tired of it. We want it over. But we want it done right. I feel like we're in the woods and aren't sure of the path out.


And what do we do about Christmas and Thanksgiving? 

When I think of things -- and add to it the tragedies of hurricanes in the south and on the coast and fires in the west, I get overwhelmed. Toos in some civil rights issues and add the election to the mix and it gets insane. Our country is in its biggest mess in my lifetime and I don't like it one bit.

I get bitchy. I cry, unprovoked. Like now. I have dreams. I hadn't had Covid dreams since April but now I've had them many nights in a row. 

If people would just wear the masks, keep the distance, stop attending superspreader events, wash up and follow guidelines, we might get this under enough control to wait out a reputable, fully-vetted vaccine. It won't be soon, but if everyone goes along with precautions, that time will move along a whole lot faster.

On another note, I've been looking terrible. The hair got out of control.

I didn't think it was as bad as it was till I did a selfie of the top of my head.


Thank you, Clairol. It was easier than I thought and I actually picked the right color, which is pretty good online!


Lots less expensive, too!

So, that's our world these days. I leave you with someone who doesn't give a hoot about any of this...


 ...just so long as she gets fed! 

(Meanwhile, if you want to see how a real artist paints a portrait of my favorite cat, check out Vivian Swift's post here!)

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Signs of Fall

It doesn't matter whether I want it to stay sunny and 80 for another two months or not -- fall is just around the corner astronomically -- and I think meteorologically, it is already here, at least at the lake.


My walk shows the tail end of summer and the early signs of fall. Things begin branch by branch.


And they get brighter by the day.


Goldenrod is plentiful. And quite beautiful.


I'm not sure what the little white ones behind it are, but together they are beautiful.


The berries that were coppery in this post are turning to a lovely red.


The astors have come out, too.


The sumac is looking deep red and interesting.


There are the last of the summer blooms. This spot made me smile.


And this one, too.


And what's not to love about sunflowers?


There were a couple of interesting fungi coming out. This one looks a bit like a stone.


And this one just looks very sad.

I leave you with a few colorful branches...


.... a lovey spot by the lake...

And because I love them so, sunflowers.

 

 If you live in the north, cherish these glorious days while you can.


Winter is long.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Made In Gaylord?

The little town where I spend the summer -- Gaylord, Michigan -- had early origins in the logging industry. But some are surprised to learn that there used to be an automobile manufacturing company here in the early 1900s -- the Gaylord Motor Car Company (1911-1913). 


In the Chamber of Commerce office on Main Street, one can still see one of the original cars.


Although there were several styles of vehicles -- a convertible four-seat car for private drivers, a two-person roadster and a larger vehicle with storage space for luggage among them -- only one is in the Chamber office. It is fully restored and quite handsome.

Families who have been here at the lake for close to a century will recognize the names of some of the original trustees of the company, including those of Kramer and Shipp. (The Shipp cottage was next door to the original family cottage now owned by my cousins.)


Why a car company in Gaylord? The story is actually one that combines community spirit with a pressing economic needs. The lumber industry, which had been the backbone of the Gaylord economy, was coming to an end and the auto industry was making its early start. Fifty-three town residents raised $50,000 in a month (now about $1.35 million) to build a factory and the parts and equipment to build new cars. (The assembly plant was located near the railroad near a cemetery on Wisconsin Street, which is now the southern edge of downtown Gaylord.) 

The first demonstration car was actually made in Detroit and was driven to Gaylord in 1910. The cost for one of these cars ranged from $1,000 to $1500. (The $1500 price would be equivalent to $40,910.68 in today's dollars.) It arrived in Gaylord from Detroit, on August 15, 1910, driven by the president and general manager of the Gaylord Motor Car Company. Remember -- at this time, the four hour trip from Detroit would take at least two days on the roads of the day.

 1910 Gaylord Touring Car

By 1912, the factory had moved to Gaylord and the car had been featured at the National Auto Show, which brought orders from the national exposure. Hoping to break apart from competitors, the utility wagon had a higher road clearance, which made it useful on the more rugged roads outside cities.

1912 Gaylord Factory - Gaylord, Michigan

But there are challenges to any new business. One big one is keeping it up and running to build your reputation before it fully maximizes its financial potential. As money ran out, it was difficult to find new investors. 

1913 Gaylord In The Snow - Gaylord, MI

Those with capital and the inclination had many investment options in this new industry. Many chose new new Ford Motor Company whose Model T sold for $550. This was less than half the price of the Gaylord vehicle. It led to the company's bankruptcy.

A man named Ivan Polus in Elmira, Michigan was responsible for finding the only known Gaylord car in existence and restoring it. 


The Gaylord Motor Car Company may not have saved the Gaylord economy (which, thanks to tourism is doing quite well) but it did reveal how several forward-thinking members of the community pooled their ideas and resources to take a chance and create something new.


And these days, that thinking outside the box and looking toward new seems to be something many will be doing as we juggle the challenges we face today.

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