Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Does This Sound Like Anybody YOU Know?

(No names Please!!!)

I was in the pub yesterday when I suddenly realized I desperately needed to fart. The music was really, really loud, so I timed my farts with the beat.

After a couple of songs, I started to feel better. I finished my pint and noticed that everybody was staring at me.

Then I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod.

(And no apologies....too funny!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pictured Rocks Cruise - Munising, Michigan

After our week long backpacking trip we headed north to complete the circle around Michigan and through Wisconsin toward Illinois. Along the way we stopped in Munising, Michigan to see the falls

and to take the Pictured Rocks cruise.

If you double click, you can enlarge the photos...the above shows a tree on an outcropping and the only way it lives (according to our guide) is by the root that has linked to the shore on the left...don't ask me how it made its way over there through the air, it's a mystery!

We backed into this narrow fiord-like shape surrounded by rocks on both sides was a bit scary; maybe Chuck has made a video of this trip...go visit his blog

This was the only passable rocks picture that I got.

The cruise was great but as always since we were moving and I guess my grasp is not as steady as it once was, most of my pictures were not worthy of posting. Suffice to say if you are in the area, stop by for this one. I would suggest to just enjoy the views; pictures or cd's can be purchased at the end of the trip and will likely be better than what you can take. Somehow photos just don't grab the full intensity of the view, in my opinion.

Anyway here are a few shots that made the cut and I managed to get some pretty good ones of a "feeding the gulls ritual" that takes place on every cruise. Enjoy! Double click the photos to get a better view...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sleeping Bear Dunes and North Manitou Island

As promised, here I am back from my first backpacking experience which began Sunday the 12th. Actually, we got to the Dunes on the 12th, walked (hiked) up and around them and then headed to Traverse City, Michigan for the night. There we met up with Len and Marlene for dinner and the following morning we drove to Leland, where we caught the ferry to the North Manitou Island;the wilderness island where one goes to experience nature in all its ruggedness.

Here is Chuck at the Dunes sign. The dunes are actually quite tall; rising in a series of steps. Looking from the bottom you really don't get the full flavor for how high they are. Not nearly as high as the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado but challenging nevertheless.

I found an isolated place somewhere near the top and got this shot of a dead tree and the lake in the background.

Then it was on to North Lake Manitou

As you can see, there is not much concern for how your backpack is loaded on to the ferry. it will endure much worse treatment before the trip is over.

The first day, after we set up camp, we hiked 7 or so miles to Lake Manitou in the center of the island. This was a gorgeous place that we visited more than once. Clear water, serenity and nature sounds all around made it well worth the trip.

I thought I'd group similar photos. Here are some of the flora of the area...
This puff is huge, probably the size of a hand spread out just mesmerising when you look closely at it.

This mushroom was growing off in the woods a few feet from where we stopped for lunch one day.

I love these red flowers, they grow all over the island and are so pretty

Here is Chuck, Len and Marlene. This particular day we hiked the lake shore for 3 or 4 miles and headed inland to complete our loop. The water is so clean; you just want to jump in and drink it down.

Then it was on to the wildlife

This is a garter snake. The island has very many of them and fortunately, the snake want to get away from you MORE than you want to get away from it
We never did see the coyote that made these tracks

TWO snakes sunning near Lake Manitou....hummnn

The ferry is coming to pick us up. It had 63 passengers on it; they are in for a busy weekend on the island. Our group was only 30, and we rarely saw anyone once we hit the island.

Once we hit shore, we snooped around a quaint village called Fishtown...
Here you see wound fish net waiting for the next trawling trip...
I am sure this is put there just for photo takers; it was perfect.

Then we had lunch

Smoked white fish, french bread and beer, wonderful.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Adventure

You've heard the expression that today is the first day of the rest of your life, I'm sure; for me it will be a first. Today I am venturing off for my first backpacking trip. Now a 'normal person' would try it for the first time in a local area, where, if things didn't work out, it would be easy enough to just get to the car and go home. That is not me. Although truth be told, that is the way I tried camping for the first time.

No, we are heading off to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Upper Michigan...the island, which is 12 miles or so offshore, for our backpacking experience.

I tried the pack last night...it was about 37 pounds (which is more than the suggested 25% of you body weight) and it didn't seem as heavy as I expected. Of course, walk around with that for a couple of hours and I will likely be singing a whole 'nuther tune.

Suffice to say, I will be out of touch electronically. So come back in a week or so and I will let you know how it went. Just to add a little intrigue to the trip I am dealing with a couple of medical issues. What is life, if not exciting?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sharing my Breakfast

KC was in a strange mood today...he decided to help me eat breakfast. This is something he has not done since he was just a baby. Sure was nice to go back and relive those moments one more time!

You will notice that there is apiece of egg there on the toast dish for him to eat. It is something that WOULD be very good for him to have since I find it very hard to find any protein that he will eat. He totally ignores it.

Oh, by the way...I learned that this breakfast of hash and eggs contains enough cholesterol to last for about three weeks. This is my last one.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lunch at Thep Thai Restaurant, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Today was a really special day for me. This is because I was going to have lunch with two women that I recently met at a Women's Retreat held in Eureka Springs hosted by Peggy Hill. Please go to this link to find out more about the wonderful retreat and others that may be held in the future.

Anyway, back to lunch. I was to meet with Sue and Luella at this Thai restaurant; it was rumored to have pretty good food so I thought it would be terrific to be with some nice people and have delicious food...what more could one ask for?

Fortunately, when we set the date up last week, I googled the restaurant and noted that it was on the corner of 15th street and School street. I knew in my mind exactly where that was, but just in case I wrote down all the information, name address, telephone number on a piece of paper; in case I ran into trouble. This morning I found myself running from store to store getting a few last minute supplies for my upcoming (first) week long back-pack trip to Sleeping Bear National Park in Michigan...Pack Rat, Ozark Foods etc. anyway the timing seemed to be perfect. I had 10 minutes to get to the restaurant for our appointed meeting time and I was leaving Ozark Natural Foods Co-op. No problem.

Uh...uh I noticed that I left the paper home with all the restaurant information on it; as well as Sue's telephone number....hummnn this could be trouble. Fear not, I drove on and as I approached the corner of 15th and School, I saw no restaurant. Now it's trouble. I saw a gas station, I saw a wood building with a nice garden in front (no sign). I kept going. No restaurant. Well, there were other restaurants, but not the one I was looking for. As I approached a Tyson facility I decided to turn around and approach from the other side.

Still, no restaurant (and now it is getting late) so I thought I would just pull into the parking lot of the wood building and ask someone where the Thai restaurant was. But my fears were pretty much put aside when I noticed an Asian looking man in the parking lot. I suspected that this may very well be the place.

Indeed it was. The people greeted me with great enthusiasm and showed me to a table for three. I was the first one there. In only moments, Luella arrived and let me know that the table was much too small, we were going to have Peggy, her mom and husband John Two-Hawks as well! Wow, I was so excited, here we get the chance to have another nice visit, before I make my way back to the Chicago area. The visit was great but I would be remiss if I did not tell you how great the food was too!
Here are some of the table shots and individual dishes as well:

Here is Luella with the Owner (I did not get his name) He was very proud of the Thai flag in the background and the tiger tooth necklace that he was wearing..No, the animal did not have to die specifically for him to get the tooth...it died of natural old age causes and he became the proud recipient of it. It was really very nice.

This is most of the group that attended the women's retreat starting left to right: Peggy, Carley, Luella, John Two-Hawks, Restaurant person, and Sue.
This was my lunch. Also known as L4 which is stir fried chicken with ginger, lots of veggies and rice and a little spring roll. It was delicious and only $ 6.95.

These are some of the appetizers that were ordered for the table: dumplings crab rangoon spring rolls and others.

All around the perimeter of the restaurant, the owner has planted herbs and veggies that is used in the freshly prepared dishes that are served: thai basil, garlic, peppers, eggplants, squash and more. I'll bet a lot of people never noticed this when they go there.

I told the owner he should have a sign outside with the name of the restaurant. He said in time he will, but first he wanted to get everything on the inside set up the way he visions it. Tables are on order from India and he motioned that there are plans for the kitchen area etc. I thought a sign now might be really good. But now I am thinking maybe not. I mean if everyone finds out about this place it will be too busy for me to get a decent lunch in the future...

It was truly a heartwarming experience to see the hospitality and happiness of everyone who works there. Yes, I hope they are very successful.

here's the pertinent information:

Thep Thai Restaurant
1525 South School Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

479 443 0029

hours: mon-thurs 11 am to 9 pm
fri -sat 11 am to 9:30pm

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fig Trees---Once Again

Well, those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I have been trying to grow fig trees in my back yard. the first year they ware just getting started..very small figs; not quite up for actually eating. Last year was a repeat of the same, so I was starting to wonder if they would ever take off. Every year they seem to grow tall, yield nothing and then die back. The ensuing spring requires them to start all over again at ground level.
This year has been no exception. While I did not cut back last years growth, this years new growth all started from ground level again...so I cut back the tall barren shoots leftover from last year, watered them like crazy and am hoping for the best.

I think this may be the year. See already I have a pretty good sized fig and it is only July 2! So, September should be quite abundant with figs! YES!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Surprise in the Butterfly Bush

It has been pretty hot here in Arkansas for the last couple of weeks..no rain. So it was time to haul out the hoses and give all my plant life a drink. Fortunately, I discovered how to improve the water pressure so now, I can do the entire back yard in only two sprinkler positions instead of the five or six that I used to be stuck with. Anyway, while I was getting all the paraphernalia set up...hauling from the garage to the back yard, I apparently disturbed something in the butterfly bush.

Too busy to check it out, I went about setting things up and turning on the water. Then I went back to the front and of course, passed the butterfly bush again...up flew a wood thrush. He landed on the fence and we just looked at each other for about half a minute and then he flew off.

Man, he was pretty. I hope he comes back. I did some research on him and found out that this is the only thrush that nests near houses. They like overly bushy areas near walls...well he picked a perfect spot. This bush that I planted almost two years ago has taken over everything.

When I got here last week, it was so overgrown I got out the pruner and went to work; surprisingly, a robin was giving me "what for"...it just kept yelling at me. I didn't see any nest or any other bird in the bush but he was really quite insistent that I get out of there...so I did.

Here's the bush, even pruned it is pretty thick.