By on Dec 1, 2019 in General |

With changing water levels and shifting sands of erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline we all continue to experience “rediscovery” as shoreline explorers. I took these photos on the evening of Saturday November 30, 2019 wading into the water for a closer look. My imagination pictures a 2-masted schooner from the 1880’s about 90′ in length and 20 some feet wide. A proud and stout wooden vessel of beams and iron. A flat-bottomed hull (visible in the water below) an ideal sailing vessel for visiting shallow harbors with a draft of only 5 to 7 feet. At 120 gross tons and economical to operate, shuttling lumber to Chicago from West Michigan she was subject to the November gales without the benefit of weather forecasting like we have today. But alas no such drama. The wreck is a scow (barge) being towed that sank south of Muskegon while transporting a steam crane in November of...

The Gift That Keeps Giving

By on Nov 29, 2019 in Christmas |

Legend has it there are Schlumbergera, better known as Christmas or Holiday cactus that become family heirlooms passed on from generation to generation. The gift that keeps giving. I know this to be true and it creates pressure for those receiving the inheritance. You don’t want to be the one breaking the cycle of care for the beloved family species. In the wild, the species of Schlumbergera grow either on trees (epiphytic) or on rocks making them very different from what you would normally consider a cactus. The stems are composed of segments. The segments are strongly flattened cladodes which means a flattened leaf-like stem with “wings.” The modern genus Schlumbergera is credited to Charles Lemaire in the mid 1800’s. It is named after Frédéric Schlumberger, who had a collection of cacti at his chateau near Rouen France.  

Those were the days my friend

By on Nov 19, 2019 in Christmas |

It’s November. A walk through the garden causes a longing for the way thing’s used to be. The leaves rustle under my feet. Frozen foliage hangs from what once were perennials in all their glory. I approach the Hydrangeas soon to be simply sticks in the snow as the foliage hangs limp from the stems. The once bright flowers now brown and brittle. My camera focuses on a lacecap Hydrangea that has seen better days. I sing the tune while focusing my camera. “Those were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end, we’d sing and dance forever and a day.” In a melancholy moment I scold myself not to be such a sentimental sap. It is the season of evergreens. The aroma of boughs linger in the air. What would we do without pinene and the mood enhancing goodness of conifer branches. The evergreens scoff at Jack Frost and the bitter cold to be the...

Creating Mythical Holiday Scandinavian Characters with Evergreen Boughs

By on Nov 5, 2019 in Christmas |

Follow along with this video where I use evergreen boughs, tomato towers and other components to create Tomte or Nisse characters to celebrate the holidays and winter solstice!

Be Holidazzled

By on Oct 31, 2019 in Christmas |

Mr Vuyst goes to Washington

By on Oct 17, 2019 in America |

In Frank Capra’s classic comedy-drama Mr Smith goes to Washington, the character of Jefferson Smith played by James Stewart engages in a climactic filibuster with patriotic zeal. No filibusters for me this past weekend, but a climatic (for me) run filled with patriotic zeal. The Army Ten-miler is held in Washington DC in October and is the world’s biggest 10 miler (35,000 runners). It was something I wanted to do before turning 60 later this year. The invocation, National Anthem with helicopters buzzing the 35,000 runners waiting at the start line was both thrilling and inspirational. Most inspiring was running with the young men and women of our Armed Forces who defend our freedoms worldwide. I can assure you unequivocally from talking with many of them this past weekend we are truly blessed. From the Wounded Warriors who participated in the 10 miler to the Honor Flight...

To be or not to be is really not a question

By on Oct 15, 2019 in Fall, General |

As October presses on, the leaves of the trees make their descent to the earth and the cycle of life continues. As you stand in the yard with leaf rake in hand it’s enough to make anyone wax philosophical. I think on the words of the famous writer William “Rake”-speare: To be, or not to be: that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the yard to suffer The foliage piles of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of leaves, And by opposing them. Well to be or not to be is really not a question. You’re going to have to do something about those leaves. Or are you? You could wait for favorable winds to make the leaves your neighbor’s problem. You can’t burn them anymore. I remember those days as a kid when all the neighbors would rake their leaves to the curb and light them on fire. When it came to being groundbreaking hip my Dad would compost...

You Auto Be Outside This Fall

By on Oct 10, 2019 in Fall |