Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cabin Longings - Never satisfied

I've been away from our cabin for less than a month, which means that I have more than two months to go before I see it again. In December, when I was packing up to leave, I couldn't wait to start out for new places. We were heading downstate to spend Christmas with the people we care most about, so saying goodbye to our little cabin didn't seem all that hard.

Then, after Christmas, we left our bunch and took off over the Ohio flatlands, beyond the Kentucky hills and into the Smoky Mountains and out the other side to the South Carolina Piedmont, out final destination being the Atlantic coast. It was exciting enough to forget, for a while, about our little cabin in the woods.

Tunnel through the North Carolina mountains

The views are beautiful here, too, though as different as day and night. Instead of pines, we see palms, and instead of Cisco fishermen, we see shrimpers and crabbers pulling their traps into their small boats. The seagulls follow behind, the same as they do on the lakes, but here we see pelicans and the occasional group of dolphins competing for any little morsels left behind or thrown overboard.

Today there were horses on the beach and I rushed out to take pictures of them. Pretty interesting stuff, so why do I keep thinking about home?

I'm having Cabin Longing at the moment, but I've had Cabin Fever often enough to know it's no fun being cooped up inside a small hut for days on end as Mother Nature unleashes her own nasty brand of Northern fury.

Oh, those furies. . . But that's not what I'm thinking about now. Now all I can think about is a cozy fire in the stove. . .the soup pot simmering on the back burner. . .snowflakes drifting softly, forming luscious pillows outside my window. . .forest creatures stopping by to spend a little quality time with us. . .

. . .Ah, the stuff of dreams. But, oddly, when I shared some of this with the folks near home, they had more than a few choice words, too. Most of which I wouldn't want to repeat here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Moon, another place

Tonight I'm watching the "largest moon of 2009", which might not mean much, considering it's only January 10th, but Nasa says it's a Perigee moon, and I really like the sound of it. This from the Nasa website, where you can read all about it:

Johannes Kepler explained the phenomenon 400 years ago. The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle; it is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach "perigee," and that is where the Moon will be this weekend.

Perigee full Moons come along once or twice a year. 2008 ended with one and now 2009 is beginning with another. It's the best kind of déjà vu for people who love the magic of a moonlit landscape.

When I'm up north, much of the time any sky phenomenon is hidden by the ever-present cloud cover, but here at the ocean we've been watching it for over an hour now.

They say it should look largest nearer the horizon, and maybe it did. (See above) But I loved this view, when it was peeking through the clouds.

Did anyone else see it? I'm curious to know whether it looked different in other parts of the country. (Just talked to my daughter in Southeastern Michigan. They got eight inches of snow today, so I'm guessing they weren't watching a full moon!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009. . .Already??

Whew, I feel as though I've been caught up in a whirlwind and I've just now come back down to earth. The Holidays were wonderful, but enough is enough, already!

We closed up our cabin the week before Christmas and headed downstate to the city. (Which would have been a sorry trek but for the fact that nearly our entire family is there.) Packing for three months takes miles and miles of lists, two large suitcases, five plastic bins, and a couple of those vacuum bags you put your stuff in and suck all the air out of and they flatten like lumpy pancakes. They look great when you first do them, and they'll last for a few days, but by the time we get to our destination, they've puffed up into very large pillows. We've tried everything to get them to work. We've bought different brands. I've arranged and re-arranged the clothes inside many times to get lumps, bumps and air out of them, but they turn on us every time.

Closing up the cabin for the winter has gotten easier over the years, but it's still a job that takes days of planning and doing. My husband keeps a list that he checks off every year so he doesn't forget anything, and he's good at it. So far no major disasters. I keep lists, too, and my job, besides packing, is to contact the Post Office, DirecTV, the utilities, etc. I did good for the most part, but half way downstate I remembered that I forgot to open the refrigerator doors after I pulled the plug. I'm waiting for our nephew to go back up to his cabin nearby, but his father is sick and he's staying downstate for a while. It's been cold enough so far that it's not a problem, but if things warm up, I may have to call someone up there and get them to go in and do it. I don't know how much snow is on the ground now, so that could be trouble.
Oh, well, the sun is shining here and it's going to be in the 70s, so tomorrow is another day. . .

As I was packing, I spotted this little squirrel trying to make away with an apple half almost as big as he was. It was out there for the deer, but I didn't put a sign on it so I suppose it looked like squirrel food, too. In the second picture, he has actually grabbed onto it somehow and he's pushing it along. Maybe it's the same squirrel that was so good at stealing food out of the trap without triggering it!

My son must have gotten tired of my complaints about my clunky camera, which I dearly love but which is about the size of a pot roast. For Christmas, he bought me a nifty little Canon Powershot that--glory be--actually fits in my pocket! And if I wear it around my neck, it doesn't feel like some sort of penance. It's taking a while to get used to it, and it doesn't have the telephoto range that my other camera has, but I think I'm going to like it a lot. It has a great macro setting, which I'll use a lot for my Etsy store, but I'll probably still hang onto my Konica Minolta for some of my nature shots. My old camera had a tiny, tiny LCD screen, but this one is large enough to actually recognize things. I still use the view finder for most shots. It just seems more comfortable and camera-like.

We left Michigan on December 29 and arrived in South Carolina on New Year's Eve. We were so exhausted, we missed the midnight New Year arrival by about three hours. We caught up with it the next day, though.
I miss our cabin already, even though nobody forced me to leave it for the winter. I wish I wasn't such a baby about the cold and the too-short days. I used to have visions of me on skis or skates or on a sled or a toboggan, just whooshing along, enjoying all that fluffy white stuff, regarding that often cruel weather as a challenge I was up to.

No more, I'm sorry to say. I was born in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, purportedly the snowiest place in the continental U.S, so I should be out there wallowing in that stuff. (Check out the Keweenaw Snow Thermometer here. Their record snowfall was 390.4 inches in the winter of 1978-79)

Half of me is Finnish, so any number of hardy Finns are probably ashamed of that half of me, but the other half is Italian and I must have inherited that Mediterranean blood, because I don't like to be COLD!

I'll be posting pictures of our cabin and other Michigan locations throughout the winter, but I'm planning on doing some posts on other people's cabins, too. I have a couple I'm working on already, and I'm hoping I'll be able to do a few more. I would love to do a piece on cabins in the south, too. I'll be on the lookout for some interesting ones while I'm here.

A wish for the best of the best in this new year. Make the most of it. It won't return again.