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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Monday, July 31, 2017

My Town......................


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We were married in England and all my children were born there. The last one born in my parents bed in their home, my home.
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Here I am pregnant with Justin at my mums house holding Jason.
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Traverse City is as much my town now as anyone's. My husband was born here and brought me here in 1971/2.
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His Great Grandfather came here from Germany, two brothers made the trip and were some of the first to settle here. One moved on to Canada. One settled in Suttons Bay where his parents and grandparents lived and grew up. His mum (her family were French) and dad married and moved into Traverse City, it was a small town then. All the Schaub's had big families,I mean Gerry is one of 18.
So when I came here I thought it was the back of beyond. I was used to living in London after being raised in a small farming village in Bedfordshire. We seemed way ahead of this place with diverse cultures, refugees from WW2 and so on. I came to love it here in Michigan because I love the woods and lakes and wild life. I did not like the town though not for a very long time.
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When we first came to Traverse City I had two babies and an almost 5 year old. We stayed a short time at my husbands parents and that for me was shocking. So different to how I had been used to living and how I was raised. I was an only child and he one of 18. We were certainly poorer than a great many that I came to know in the States but my home was comfy and quiet. To move into a strangers home that was packed to the seams with 3 children of my own and my husband gone to finish out his air force existence. I was stressed and alone to say the least. It's a blur. To cap it off Jason my 18 month old got sick, I was used to doctors coming to the house and had to rely on my in-laws here. It was not until Jason was having convulsions that they agreed to take me to the doctor, that in itself was a shock because it was snowing outside and we had to go to the doctors office. They put the baby in isolation as we were new in the country. He was in what looked like a cage and they were packing him in ice and inserting Asprin into his bowels. The could not find anything wrong, in fact we never did find anything wrong. Suffice it to say my first weeks here were hell. Imagine raising 18 kids here? I am sure the older ones left as soon as they could or as I came to find out got kicked out.
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I hated the way the town looked. I mean, I came from typical English villages and come here to wooden houses that looked like shacks with all the overhead wires and the dirty snow. The in-laws lived on Barlow st hardly the best part of town. The boys at home at the time were sleeping in an attic bedroom on bare mattresses. When it came to meal times it was grab what you could and hope you got something. His mum never sat down to dinner she served the dad and kept refilling dishes on the table, that were empty as soon as she filled them. First night my 3 sat hands in laps waiting patiently and by the time I realized it was every man for himself we barely ate. Next night I fought for our share. The boys were not nice to Laura either.
I was not at all happy. (The buffalo farm where now there is a mall)
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When Gerry got back after a couple of weeks or so we finally found a trailer we could rent while he built our first house.
He worked with his dad who was a builder. There again, getting used to a casual way of paying us was not easy. Between jobs no money came in. Also I was not told anything so it was stressful not knowing if there was work or not. Anyway I went stir crazy in the 2 bedroom trailer that was right outside Chef Pierre as it was then. The trucks coming and going all night and nothing to do during the day, I wondered what I had got myself into. No car (I didn't drive) No footpaths so I couldn't walk anywhere I felt like a prisoner. Had to wait to be taken to the store and all of that. Did the laundry in the sink and boiled cloth diapers on the stove.
We eventually had a new house built on a new subdivision that his dad was building, we got a car but I still didn't drive. I was still isolated because there was nowhere to walk.
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No footpaths that I was used to in England. The subdivision was built on old cherry orchards and now there is a strip mall and condos next to that. At that time though there were no shops no mall nothing but a buffalo farm up the road. My parents came to visit and brought my little cousin Mark.
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I was used to being able to wander where ever I wanted to go. I would go alone over the fields and walk down to the village shops any time I wanted during my childhood and beyond. I was used to freedom.
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Here I was stuck inside with 3 kids and nothing to do and no company. I think I was almost insane with homesickness. It was like a jail especially when winter came and the windows had icicles that looked like bars. I could not take the kids out in the pram because there was nowhere to go.
I eventually made a couple of friends, so my kids had some kids to play with. A little girl next door and 3 over the back, they would all play down in one of the holes that had been dug out for a basement. They had a great time. Eventually I got to know a couple of sister in laws but that was not the same as the friends I had always had at home. Everything was so different and I did not like it at all. People did not just pop in for tea (coffee) and had to drive everywhere. I was used to neighbours popping in and out all day and being able to go see my friends any time I wanted. This is Mrs Bird chatting over the front hedge on her way to the shops........a daily occurrence.
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Of all things it seemed backwards to me, meaning behind the times. talk about culture shock. When Gerry's in-laws saw me in my mini skirts they said "well no one will be able to criticize Janet anymore "(the youngest girl). No one wore dresses here back then, and it was all I wore. Jeans were for down on the farm. We always dressed to go anywhere especially if visiting. So everyone kept asking why was I all dressed up, I wasn't. Also my accent, that became annoying too, everyone would either pick on it, try to copy it or be fascinated to the point of not hearing what I said because they were listening to my "accent". All my homemaking ideas were frustrated because I could not get what I wanted, when we got furniture we went down to Grand Rapids where they made the stuff. There was not a lot of choice here in Traverse City at that time. Eventually we decided we wanted to live out in the countryside and bought 40 acres out near Maple City. We built a lovely house and enjoyed it for a short time.
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Gerry was by then partners with his dad. I could not get used to not having a regular paycheck. I worried a lot back then before I relied on the Lord. Our first house took ages to sell. We were panicking because the economy and building was slow and we had 2 mortgages. We sold 5 acres, that helped a bit but eventually we had to sell the house and build another so Gerry had work. That was a big mistake. Still I don't dwell on that. I did learn to drive and so could get out a bit but didn't go far at that point. We made some friends out that way, but moved closer to town. Blizzard of 78 in the next picture. Could not get out all weekend.
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Things had still not picked up a lot so again we built another house and moved again. I still wanted to go home to England, originally we never intended to live here. My parents kept telling us we were better of here in the States, and unfortunately we listend. After we put the last house on the market and it didn't sell in time we gave up on the idea of going back to England. That's when the house sold and we were stuck, we found the house we now live in and have been here ever since.
The town has grown around us. The building trade boomed again and so Gerry has had regular work. I do love this house and we have done a lot to it.
We had given up on the idea of ever moving back to England. With our kids grown up, and Grand kid's back in the area and then having Tristen in our lives, well the time never came again.
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The town has changed, no longer the sleepy town it once was. Some things are better but it has become so crowded, that Bay is being hemmed in with hotels and now they want to build up scale condos on some of the remaining water front. Pretty soon we wont see the Bay. It will not longer be our town. Just another tourist trap. Time to move on?
Now here we are about to retire (Gerry) and Tristen has moved on to live with his aunt, I find myself dreaming again. This town is no longer our town its a tourist hub, full of strangers now. I want to go home. I really really do. I want to end my days where I began.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day out for Cooper......

We had one day when the rain stopped, they thought it was cold but it was not too bad. Being fed up with staying inside and Cooper being full of pent up energy best to take a trip.
We stopped first at Gallaghers Tristen always enjoyed it there.
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Talk about a vegetable patch, they have wonderful produce here. They have chickens and pigs and sheep. We hate to know their fate but they are well cared for. I suppose that's something.
Reina and Cooper.
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In the Fall they have the Pumpkins and all the harvest goodies, I love seeing all the beautiful fruit, apples and Sunflowers.
For now its all the summer veggies from that lovely garden.
I bought a cherry crumble pie and some fruit roll ups. That was for later though. So off we went and bearing in mind at 4 they have (especially Cooper) a short attention span, we stopped at the park in Maple City. Then I took pictures of some of the flowers for something to do
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We headed out towards the beach after that. Passed these guys on the way.
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These are all the normal things we have always done with Tristen and Reina. It's not the same. Gerry drove us so we could not do much walking. The steps down to the beach were hard on him. Didn't do me much good either in the humid weather and my poor old knees.........felt it good in the morning. Anyway, we enjoyed the stones even though we really didn't bother to collect too many. Cooper just wanted to throw them. Everyone was cold cept me.
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Always love the beach, I don't care about the weather.
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It was stirred up in the wind and the waves were high and crashing. We got wet.
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Well at least we got out of the house. Maybe once school starts, Laura and I can get some days out when it's a bit cooler and less humid. Maybe venture further afield. Find some new places. Till then I get out when I can. It's hard now I am babysitting and Laura is working. Only a month left before school starts. Cooper will try for preschool. Meanwhile when it's nice I can take the kids out for icecream and to the school playgrounds.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Babysitting again........................

It has been a couple of weeks now, Brittany came back to live in Traverse City. A friend of Alex, I am happy to help out. So here I am till school opens again watching Ryland and Brodie. Great kids, and quiet woo hoo. Brittany is working her butt off to be a nurse assistant but I bet she wont stop there. Anyway apparently this town is lacking in day care. One day she called 35 and had no luck. So here I am again watching kids.
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Now Gabby is living with us again, it's like old times. She was living here when I watched Ryland when she was a baby. Ryland does not remember. So that means that Cooper is here and is the same age as Brody. That works sort of well. They get along. Thing is keeping them "entertained".......Ryland likes Reina who has been hanging out a bit here. When Laura works Reina has wanted to stay here instead of at home. In fact she just spent 3 days here.
We have done stuff, and went for ice cream and today we went to the park. Brodie and Ryland getting their exercize.
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Cooper.
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We took them to the playground on Silver Lake where we used to take Tristen. They played for awhile and then we went for a walk. Off we go......
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Waiting for Nanny to catch up........I was taking pictures.
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It was a lovely breezy day and sunny. This is Brody being shy.
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nice day for a walk. The Waterlily were beautiful, like a painting.
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Boy am I out of shape. Even with it being coolish today I was huffing and puffing. It has either been too hot or raining so we have not been out walking as we usually have. It will take awhile to get back in shape and then it will be winter. This next picture looks like they are all in trouble but thats not the case haha. That's Gabby watching over the flock.
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I was looking for Dragon fly, but no pictures today.
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Maybe when school starts I can get out more when it's cooler. I am still needing to catch up on the garden. Pretty soon we will be raking leaves.
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When we walked back they played at the park again for quite awhile and after that we went for ice cream. A good days work I think.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Home is where the heart is.........................

There have been a few places in my life that have held meaning to me. Places I have lived and some that I really have not had a connection with, except in my heart.
I suppose the first places were my grandparents homes, St Omere and Minerva. Both places I still dream of. That is a natural connection. Both places hold good and lasting memories. More so than my parents home on Bidwell Hill although that too has always been "home" to me. When I think of home, that's where I think of. My cousin Robin lives across the road. Thats what home is, where family is.
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The connection that I am speaking of is not that sort of connection. When I first went to Avebury in Wiltshire I was drawn to it. I felt a deep connection there. Spiritual maybe. The ancientness. The Holyness. A spiritual connection for me, like I wanted to hug the stones and be close to them. We walked the perimeter and I wanted to be alone.I didn't want to talk, to be interrupted in my thoughts. I have been several times now and each time have felt the same way.
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The trees have strange roots, all bare and winding through the hillside. Like they are reaching out to the stones beyond.
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We visited the "Long Barrows" each time and that too pulls me in. I suppose it's the ancientness the people who were buried there not forgotten because people still place flowers. The Solstices are celebrated there at Avebury like they do at Stonehenge.
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The Village of Avebury is a really pretty place. Has a nice pub too. It always seems crowded with tourists but it would be naturally. Much like where I live here in Traverse City, I am sure there are "off" seasons. I remember a white peacock sitting on a farm gate at a manor house and it was so pretty, I am not sure why I remember. I also remember a "Rookery" in the tree tops. We had to have been there in the Springtime because the trees were bare.
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I felt drawn to that whole area we hiked across the farm to the Long Barrows, West Kennett. I loved it there and love that people still leave flowers. It is a ghostly place and in one photo I took it looks like someone is there in the entrance if you look closely. Maybe there was, it is said to be haunted but I am not sure I believe that stuff, but it does have atmosphere for sure. Close by is Silbury Hill. I have not climbed that yet. I don't feel the pull to that as I do the other places but I do want to climb it some day. I say some day as though I had all the time in the world. I may be too old already but I do know I will give it a shot next time I am there.
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The next place that drew me in was Tintagel. Oh boy, I have to go back. King Arthurs legend is not the only reason. I belong there. Yeh, I know, silly right? but that is how I felt. I felt at home. I do not like heights I panic. I had no such feelings there on top of those cliffs it was fascinating. I truly believe that Arthur lived there. Someone made a statue of Arthur and placed it there, its awesome.
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Its as though he is fading in and out, just his essence. I have loved the story of Arthur naturally, was really into the trilogy The Crystal Cave etc but it's more than that, its the knowledge the certainty that its true. Oh not every little piece of the story but the thread of truth runs through it. Everyone loves the idea of Camelot. I don't know if it's there but I know Arthur was.
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We only went up on the one side, that was far enough and slow enough to catch our breath because it would only allow for one at a time so in order for those coming down the ones going up had to stand aside.
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I have always been drawn to "ancient" history, the beginnings, the roots. The mists of time...........Merlin? Merlin's cave. Yes Tintagel expressed that all for me and I have to go back. Soon while I can still make the climb and still see well enough to do so. Got to spend some time and climb the other side, and that won't be done in one day. In the pictures you can see how the castle is on the other side of the cliffs as well. Merlins Cave is below.
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This photo of Tintagel Castle is courtesy of TripAdvisor