Sunday, August 29, 2010

Take a Hike!

On Saturday afternoon, Lon and I drove 45 minutes to do some hiking in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in southern Wisconsin. This sign at the Nordic Trail trailhead shows the layout of the seven color-coded routes.

These overlapping and intersecting trail routes vary in length from .7 up to 9.2 miles. At every intersection, colored posts indicate the route direction.

We opted to hike the white route. Initially, we followed the white arrow and at every route intersection, we made sure we took the trail with the white square painted on the post.

A blurry butterfly lit on a blurry flower...or was the gal operating the camera amiss?

I bet you didn't know that eggs sunny-side-up grew like this, but obviously that's how they got their name.

Another butterfly posed for me and boldly showed off its awesome markings.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to rest for a spell.

Aw, come on, Lon...just a few more minutes...please?

We've used these trails for hiking and cross-country skiing several times over the years. Of course, every season offers its own unique colors and views.

You've got to be kidding. We've hiked one measly mile! That's a lie, a bold-faced white lie!

As with many hiking trail, several inclines challenged us.

See the grasshopper? If he hadn't flown across the trail in front of me, I wouldn't have noticed him there in the sand.

I couldn't resist powdering my cheeks with these huge fluffy puffs.

For Pete's sake. Another lie!

A magnificent monarch butterfly settled on this flower and stayed put as I gradually moved closer and closer to get this photo, my favorite of the day.

I didn't bring a pillow. At this point, I suggested we pick up the pace so we'd finish before dark.

Sweetheart? Honey bunch? I'm tired of walking. I know. I know. This hike is all my idea but won't you carry me the rest of the way. Hmm? If you really love me, you surely will.
Ahhh. I'm feeling so much better already.

We did it. We hiked three miles!
You can put me down now, sweetie pie. Ouch! (Good grief! Lon dropped me!)

Now why is it so much easier to run 3 miles than to hike the same distance? Could it be my microwave mindset that causes my impatience? Although I enjoyed walking the trails and capturing the sights with my camera, walks always seem to take forever.
We'll return in a few weeks when the leaves start to change. By then, I should be able to walk again. (Did I mention that Lon dropped me?)
P.S. Honestly, Lon didn't carry me or drop me. I added those little figments of my imagination merely for the fun of it. You knew I was kidding, didn't you?

And the Winner is...Vanessa!

I'm delighted to announce that Vanessa is the winner of my scented soap bar giveaway. Please let me know which scented soap bar you'd like, Vanessa. If you provide me with your mailing address via e-mail to , I'll send your gift across the border to you in Canada.

Vanessa is happily married, the mother of three lovely children, and resides in Alberta, Canada. Her fun-filled blog can be visited at .

Even though I began with seven bars of soap and I'm giving one away, I'll still have seven bars. That's quite amazing isn't it. Believe it or not, little miracles still do happen. Read on for the details.

Last Friday, I contacted the owners of the Oregon Soap Shoppe & Green Art Etc. via their website. I encouraged them to take a peek at my most recent blog post which praises their scented soaps. The next morning, I opened my e-mail inbox to find a response from Lynnel and Michael. They wrote:

"Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
We are happy that you are pleased with your order!
You are so thoughtful to give up one of your soaps, we would like to send you one to replace the one you are giving away.
Just email me the scent you would like us to send.
Thank you for helping promote our business!
Your photos are really wonderful and it tickled us to see them!
Have a great weekend."
Lynnel & Michael

What a fun way to start my Saturday morning!! I was happy knowing they'd gone to my blog to see what I'd been up to. On top of that, their appreciation is evident in their generosity. I'm looking forward to adding a bar of Lemon Bergamot soap to my aromatic collection. On the Oregon Soap Shoppe website, Lemon Bergamot is recommended for relieving the discomfort of eczema which frequently breaks out on the palm of my left hand.

Thank you, Lynnel and Michael.

I close this blog post simply with "Life Is Good."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Berry Nice, Lemon Verbena, Peony Petals, Applewood, Lavender Patchouli, Northwoods, Goatmilk Oatmeal & Honey and Stress Relief

(These items were gifts that arrived with my order).

When my doorbell rang this afternoon and I opened the front door to the mailman, he presented me with our regular mail and a package.

I love packages. Doesn't everybody? My brain struggled (as usual) to recall if and what I had ordered lately. Oh yeah, I thought. I'd placed an online order for bar soap from Oregon Soap Shoppe and another for three books from earlier this week. Before I could read the label on the box to determine the shipper, I smelled the glorious scents of the soaps leaking generously through the unopened package.
This is my second order of soap from the Oregon Soap Shoppe. The shop keepers are wonderful people to deal with and the soaps smell almost too good. I love using a different scent each day of the week.
I'd like to send a bar of this soap to all of you but then I'd get pretty smelly with no soap of my own. Gather around. I have a solution. The names of the first five of you who comment on this post will be put in a hat from which I'll draw the winner. The winner will receive the scent of his or her choice. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Flocking Together?

While I was using my laptop in my "office" yesterday, I noticed this fine feathered friend settled in on the bird feeder perch immediately outside my bay window. I scooped up my camera and zoomed in on the fellow. I snapped a photo but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted a really close-up shot. I moved slowly toward the window, taking pictures as I closed the distance between us.

He didn't seem frightened so I kept gradually creeping nearer and nearer the glass that separated us. I was surprised that he didn't budge. An obstacle on the floor stopped me and as I stepped around it, he startled and flew across the yard, out of my sight.

I didn't wait long for the next visitor to the bird feeder. This one was small and shy. He peeked at me from the far side of the feeder as if he wanted to play hide-and-seek with me.

I may be a strange bird with hair instead of feathers but I enjoyed hanging around with these flight-prone fellows in the early afternoon. Although I'm not of their feather, I'll go so far as to say that we "flocked together" in spite of our differences.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monkey Business in the Sky?

I geared up and took a long bike ride this afternoon. Besides enjoying myself, getting a good workout and soaking up the sun's rays, I sensed a change. As I cycled across the dark shadows of trees on the roads, I observed that the shadows reached farther across the pavement than I'd noticed on previous rides.

I know the change in the angle of the sun's rays occurs gradually, but it didn't seem gradual today. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that Autumn goosed the Sun, causing her to take a giant (rather than baby) step in the sky. During last Sunday's bike ride, I first detected a few subtle signs of Autumn's approach. This afternoon I was overwhelmed by the obvious realization that Summer is truly picking up her things and packing her bags so that Autumn can settle in for his annual sojourn.
I think I'll start watching the sky more attentively. Who knows what shenanigans go on in the universe when we're not paying attention.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Post

For lack of a title, I'll call this New Post.

For lack of an idea to expound upon, I sit idle. My brain has been napping for days. I don't have anything to blame it on, thus, even words of accusation aren't forthcoming.

Perhaps, you will welcome only a brief stay here. It offers you an opportunity to move on quickly to another blogger who undoubtedly will have something to say.

I leave now, somewhat embarrassed,
yet with hopes that I'll do better next time.
The habitual blogger, Shaddy, has written.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Sounds, Scents, Fresh Air & Snores

For too many consecutive weeks this summer, we've been dealing with heat and humidity. I can't even remember when we first closed up the house and turned on the air conditioning. We've missed a good share of the sounds, scents and fresh air that we normally associate with summer months.

A recent, welcome drop in the temperature and humidity has finally allowed us to let the fresh air in. Today, we slid open the doors to the screen porch and to the deck, cranked out and raised windows in the den, living room and bedroom and took long overdue deep breaths.

I'm looking forward to sleeping tonight with the cool night air passing over us as it circulates between the bedroom windows.

This evening, I'm loving the sounds of birds and breezes dancing with leaves, the scent of summer rain and the pleasure that comes from breathing natural air.
Yes! I'm in for a heck of a good night's sleep. It's a shame that the rest of the neighborhood won't enjoy the same treat. If my snoring doesn't wake them, the rattling walls will!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday Morning Sights

...raindrops saved by marigold petals...

...on a mission, fearless and scampering on the edge...

...a room with a view...

...follow me boys, it's now or never...

...eeny, meeny, miny, mo...

...lavendar's blue, dilly dilly...

...psst, don't forget me..