Posted by: bree1972 | November 6, 2011

First Georgia Weekend 11/07/2011

This was a perfect south Georgia fall weekend.  It was in the 60’s, with blue skies and just enough breeze to keep the air filled with leaves, drifting down like feathers from trees soon to be totally bare.  We have both pine trees and hardwoods in

Our hardwoods look tiny compared to our tall, decades-old pine trees.

our yard, so we get pine straw and leaves in the fall.  The pine straw gets swept into the flower beds, and pine cones are collected and bagged.  When we get a really cold day (in the 30’s), Ted will use them to start a fire in our little wood-burning stove on the sun porch.

The birds and squirrels found the big bird feeder on Friday afternoon – only a day-and-a-half after Ted hung it from a crickedy branch on our old crabapple tree in the backyard.  The little feeder we attach to a window in our sun room attracted birds at almost the exact same moment.  For a whole day the feeders hung visitor-less, without the sighting or sound of a bird anywhere.  Sitting on the sun porch with the windows open, we both commented on how quiet it was outside.  Then, around 11:00 Friday morning, I spotted a solitary bird sitting in the tree – head cocked to one side, eying the feeder, then checking all around for predators.  The scout flew to different parts of the tree, then to the swing, then back to the tree.  When it flew off, I told Ted it was heading back to Tweet the news – “The Hortons are back, and we’ve got food for the winter.  Ya’ll come!”  Within an hour, both feeders held several birds, happily gorging themselves with gourmet birdseed (gotta give them the best to lure them in – then we switch to something more reasonably priced).  Ted, the big softie, keeps some of the good stuff stashed away to mix in with the budget seed though.  So far we’ve seen wrens, titmice,

Our big "squirrel-proof" bird feeder hangs ready - maybe we should have hung a "We're Open" sign for a faster response.

chickadees, a female cardinal, and the cranky Brown Thrasher who makes his home in our yard every winter as soon as the food arrives.  I wish he’d move somewhere else because he can “thrash” out our little feeder in just a few minutes – but he’s our Georgia State Bird so I guess he can live wherever he wants.

Our otter friend has practically trashed our boathouse over the summer.  With no people around to scare him off, he used the shelter as his personal dining room, catching fish and bringing them into the boathouse to dine in private.  The floor out there is a garbage dump of fish bones and otter poop (Ted was very annoyed).

It’s amazing how fast Maddie and Bear have reverted back to all their old Georgia habits.  Maddie has this really aggravating thing she does when she barks at the back door to come into the house.  When we go to let her in, she immediately runs off to make one more sweep of the deck (just in case she failed to spot something interesting, I guess).  Only then will she come in.  If we walk off after she begins her sweep, she’ll come right back, bark again, then sweep again when we arrive – so we might as well just stand there and let her “do her thing”.

Our small bird feeder, with trees reflected in the sun room windows.

Saturday was just plain windy and chilly, with temps never rising out of the high 50’s.  Ted left home around noon to join “the boys” for an afternoon of football at various houses and the Bottom.  That left me with a few hours home alone.  It was too chilly to ride my bike, even though Ted had pumped up the tires, so instead I walked a fifteen-minute mile inside, aided by an online video suggested by Lana, my friend in Atlanta.  I’m determined to not fall into last year’s routine of no exercise for 6 months.  If you’d like to try it out, here’s the link:  Click on “Beginner”, and there will be a 15-minute walk-at-home video you can follow right in front of your computer.  I’ve done it a couple of times a day for two days now, and I really like it!

I’ve been thinking about something new we can all do this winter.  I’d like to share books I’ve read (that I think are good) and ask you to share good ones you’re reading.  I’m always on the lookout for a good read, and my tastes are pretty varied.  I usually can’t abide whatever the critics call “outstanding” – I’m that way about movies too.  Just a quirk of mine, and not always true – but usually.  I finished The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass a few days ago, and it was excellent.  So excellent, in fact, that now I want to read The Three Junes, which won Glass the National Book Award in 2002.  Right now I’m reading The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain.  It’s “ok” enough to finish, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  The best book I’ve read this year – no doubt at all – is Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand.  By the way, I love nonfiction dog books (highly recommend A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron), and “good” romance novels – Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown are two of my favorite authors, What about you?  What are you reading these days that you would recommend?  I’ll be commenting over the winter as I read something new, and ya’ll feel free to comment any time at all with a book that’s impressed you.

What am I missing about Mackinac Island?  First, our friends – but the majority of them are not on the island for the winter either, so it’s not like they’re there, and we’re here.  And I’m in almost daily contact with all of them and the friends we have that do winter on the island – so that makes it easier.

Another thing I miss is the quiet – not necessarily outside (after all, we live in the country, and traffic noise isn’t a problem) – it’s the inside noise that I find disconcerting.  At the Mac Island condo, our TV is upstairs in the loft – so it’s hardly ever on except for a couple of hours at night – max.  Here, with the TV right in the den, it gets turned on (by Ted) as soon as he sits down in his big recliner, and it stays on the rest of the evening until bedtime.  The longer we do this double-nesting (and the older I get), the more I can see that in the near future I will need to move my laptop out of the den (which means finding a new spot for my desk) and into a room where I can write – minus TV noise. When I was working, I could juggle several “mind” tasks at once.  Now – well, when my brain is trying to focus on writing – or reading – I need silence to concentrate.

What am I loving most about being home at the lake in Georgia?  First – friends!  How great to see all the girls at the Bottom Wednesday night, and on Friday we all went out – as couples this time – to dinner in Cordele, at the same restaurant we went to just before we left for Michigan.  We have such wonderful friends at both our homes – a true blessing.  Other things I’m loving:  our KING-size bed (there’s room for Ted, Maddie and I without any “cross-over”); being able to open a door and release Bear and Maddie out to do their business or play without having to go out with them on leashes; watching our birds; and being right on the water.  With the lack of rain and storms to stir up the bottom, the river’s water is almost clear right now.  And with the sun reflecting just right – as in the photo at right – it takes on a beautiful blue hue.

I know I’ve been rambling in this post, but there were a lot of subjects roaming around in my brain, and I was trying not to forget any of them.  I hope all of you had a great weekend, and don’t forget to tune in on Wednesday to the Mac Island site ( for the first Winter Update.  Michigander friends have shared some wonderful photos you’re going to love.

See you again on Friday with  news from the ri’vah!

We were amazed, as dry as the summer was here, that all our bushes survived. As usual, the big "what I call purple bumblebee bush" is still blooming away. At this time of year, it seems every bumblebee within miles has converged on this one plant, and they cling to it all day, becoming sluggish from all the nectar and from the natural slowing of their metabolism at this time of year. I think many of them end their one-year life cycle right here each fall, happily sipping on the juices of that bush.


Jason - our son in Atlanta - took a little spin up into the mountains of north Georgia this afternoon. Still some color up there. This particular road was near Suches, GA in Vogel State Park.



  1. The sign said 25. The speedometer said 80. Oops:)

    • Those are not words your mom wants to hear, Jason.

      • Does the next sign say…Go To Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.00? 😉

      • I hope Ted knows the sheriff in Dahlonega, and Santa needs to deliver two rear tires and a radar detector please….

      • That’s so NOT funny, Jason Kyle Lewis.

  2. Ramble on, I LOVE it! Being as this will be my 4th week into a new job (after being a stay at home mom for over 30 years) I don’t get much time to be on the computer or to read so you will have to excuse me. I am working on a book, although it’s going to take me a while with work and all, but the name of it is “Bid Time Return” by Richard Matheson 🙂

    I would have to have a closer picture of your “purple plant” but it reminds me of the Russian Sage that we have. All summer it is loaded with bees! I can walk as close as I want and the bees never bother me. I didn’t know that bumblebees only have a 1 year life cyle?

    • LOL, HIlde. Why does it not surprise me that you are reading the book on which the movie Somewhere in Time was based. Can’t wait to see if you think the movie was as good as the book! And I didn’t know that about bumblebees either, until I checked on their life cycle. I just knew that “our” bees seemed to slow down more and more as the weather gets colder, and some of them actually die clinging to that plant. Sometimes the queen bee can live through 2 winters, but not the workers.

  3. Brenda, I have several of Leslie Sansone walking DVD’s. I can highly recommend them. Several years ago I used these DVD’s to lose 50 pounds. Start out with the 15 min and work up to the 3 or 4 mile walk. Quite a workout.

  4. Hi Brenda, Glad you’re enjoying being home in GA!
    Ya know, I had a thought …. We don’t have a fenced in yard for my Shaggy Dog, so we use this wireless fence. It is awesome! I’m wondering if it might work for you up on the Island? It sends out a signal that is adjustable up to about 80ft in diameter (the specs say 90ft, but I’ve never gotten it that far). It would be awesome for that quick trip out to go potty instead of having to take them out on leashes….and give Maddie some freedom too! We take it camping & when we visit overnight too. Worked great at my nieces condo!

    I made note of your book recomendations. We both love to read & take our Kindles everywhere!
    I’m enjoying reading Steve Hamilton’s series about this retired police officier, Alex McKnight. Its a series based out of the U.P. not to far from the Island in fact. The island has been in a few of his books too.
    Janet Evanovich’s writing is absolutely hysterical! She is probably my fav author. She has a movie coming out based on her novels too.

    I too have a “don’t bother”, and that would be “Water for Elephants”. I didn’t care for the book, but couldn’t stop reading it either!

    Have a great week!

    • Both Ted and I LOVE Steve Hamilton’s books and have all of them. We also love William Kent Krueger (the Island Bookstore carries all his books, and he was recommended to us by Tam several years ago – as was Steve Hamilton, who was there for a book signing this summer). Krueger’s novels are based around a central character who appears in all his books, and the setting is the Boundary Waters Wilderness of Minnesota. Ted is reading his latest right now.

      Water for Elephants is one of my favorite books! Which just shows why there are so many book genres – there’s something for everyone, and we each have different tastes. Evanovich is my daughter-in-law Blair’s favorite author!

  5. Good to hear from you – I look forward to “life on the ri-vah”. Welcome home.

  6. Your wonderful birds and feeders have been in my minds eye for the last 7months. Glad,so glad you are “home”.

  7. Suzie does the same thing when she is at Mariannes house, she has to show you how she can chase the squirrels.

  8. I so wish I had a lake I could rake my leaves into! We cleaned up the yard last weekend and had over 20 bags on the curb when we were done. And then the winds came…I had another 3 bags this weekend!

    I think Hilde’s right about the purple bush-looks like Russian Sage to me too. Very pretty! I killed mine or truthfully, my dear departed rottweiler, Taz, did. Used it as his potty spot and I didn’t realize until it was too late.

  9. Funny story about the Evanovich books … early this past summer on our first ever trip to the Island we were riding the ferry one early morning and it was empty other than us and some island workers, one of whom was reading Janet Evanovich’s latest novel. They’re among my favorites and I struck up a conversation with her. Turns out she worked in the toy store next to the Island Bookstore, and that they were reading this latest book in the series as part of their book club. This firmed up my desire to someday live on the island even more. I thought “what a great book club, I want to join!” seeing that the book clubs around here read that typical “critic’s choice” fare that I also avoid. Anyway flash forward a few weeks to when I discovered your blog, your friend Jill, the bookstore, heck you would probably even know the gal that I spoke with about the book! I’ll be back later with some recommendations. 🙂

    • I might not know her, Liz, but I bet Jill does!

    • Was it the girl who’s moving to Alaska? We chatted with a girl at that toy shop who’s moving to Alaska to open her own toy store when we visited in the fall.

    • Yes, that is “Dawn” who LOVES to read Janet E. & she IS moving to Alaska.

      • Wow! Alaska! Well good for her. She was very pleasant, chatting away with me even though we had never met.

  10. I miss Cordele at this time of year……fall and pecans! Thanks for reminders of friends and a beautiful part of our country.

  11. Have you read any James Patterson books? I’m addicting to them. His Women’s Murder Club series is addicting!

    • Not in a while, Nicole. Need to get back to him.

  12. I liked “Water for Elephants”. I could relate to it as my father was in a long term care facility while I was reading it.. He passed Oct. 2010, 3 weeks before his 100th birthday. I miss him terribly, but he is in a better place now. He fought Alzheimer’s for 7 years. I did not see the movie because I was afraid it would be too “Hollywood”.

    Loved the header, forget the speed, scary!

    My new neighbor had an electric fence installed, behind tall, bushy evergreens. It must work, I never see the dog. A lady I knew years ago had one and really liked it.

    Lovely photos as usual. Funny story about Maddie. She is so cute, and hyper!!! Love the lavender flowers, beautiful.

  13. Back with some recommendations. Disclaimer: There’s very little strife in what I read, ever, and most things have happy endings. A bit pollyanna but at least you’ll smile!

    Gail Fraser – Lumby series. This author retired from the corporate world to write a set of books about a quirky little small town called Lumby. There are five or six by now, start with The Lumby Lines. So entertaining.

    Darien Gee – Friendship Bread – the power of a small town and its friendship. (You can start a Friendship Bread cycle on the island, hehehe!)

    Beth Hoffman – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – I really can’t place what touched me about this book but it’s among my very favorites. It’s very southern.

    Michael Hingson – Thunder Dog – This is a true story about a blind man and his guide dog who led him out of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. A beautiful book about a wonderful dog. (P.S. They made it. I won’t read a book with animals in it unless I know they are ok.)

    John Lescroart – anything he writes. This is my crime-drama go-to author. The same basic set of characters appear in every book which I like, making you feel like you know them.

    That’s enough outta me for now. Thank you for the Steve Hamilton and William Kent Krueger recommendation, they’ll go over well in our house!
    Do you have a Kindle, Bree? It’s dangerous, I can’t put mine down!

    • That’s so funny, Liz. I am that way also – especially with dog books – I want to know all is well at the end. I just finished doing a little researching on all your mentioned books. I confess to never hearing of the Lumby Series or the Friendship Bread series. They sound right up my alley and remind me a little bit of the Mitford Series, which I loved (in that they are all based in a small town with recurring characters). Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt has been on my “to read” list for a while – don’t know why I haven’t read it yet, but I will. Have also put down “Thunder Dog” to purchase, which I’ve read about and want to read. Haven’t read John Lescroart either. Wow – this could really turn into a really great reading winter!

      Have resisted buying a Kindle – I’m one of those who just loves having a book in my hands, and . . . . . I read a lot in the bathtub. Probably bad on electronics LOL!

  14. Bree, you are so close to me here in South Georgia, and it’s so fun to follow the Island Bookstore on FB. I recommend that you visit Thomasville, and especially OUR small town indie bookstore, The Bookshelf. It reminds me so much of the Island Bookstore. And since my visit to MI many years ago on our dream vacation, I STILL use my Island Bookstore book cover for my soft covers. Let me know if you come this way, and meet you for coffee and show you our town. Enjoy your lake time!!

    • I LOVE indie bookstores – AND that you’re reading this blog! Is that your horse on your profile pic?

      • You would *love* this indie bookstore. And downtown Thomasville! You are too close in Cordele not to visit!!

        That is my daughter’s horse (mine is not so pretty!). 🙂 We have 2 Tennessee Walking horses.

      • Don’t know why we don’t get to Thomasville – except it’s just further away than Albany (our closest “big” town. You have Tennessee Walkers! Just wondering if you’ve ever heard of Mystic Meadows in South Lyon, MI. Jim Groat, the contractor who built the Mackinac Island Community Stable, and his wife own that farm – they raise Tennessee Walkers. Great family!

  15. Welcome home! Sounds like you’re really settling.

    Books! Ah! Well, having reread Jean Auel’s Earth Children series (had to reread before I read the last one!) earlier this summer, I realized I had never gotten Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone. So I took it out of our library, and what should fall out of the book than a card with my name and phone number on it! I guess I had requested it but they never called me to say it was ready! I then did a little research and discovered the first book in the series was 20 years old! Time to REREAD, I think!! So I started at the beginning and am up to Drums of Autumn. I absolutely immerse myself in that kind of reading.

    So it will be a while before I can start on your suggestions – but I will mark them (somehow!). Oh, Jennifer Chiaverini has a new Quilters book – Union Quilters. Gotta do that one eventually.

    • Although I’ve heard of Jean Auel’s books for years, I’ve never read them, and I know nothing about the Diana Gabaldon series. So much to investigate! Thanks, Irene, for these suggestions!

  16. This is great to hear about new books. I started a book club of neighbors (our husbands call it the wine and gossip club) a couple years ago and am always looking for suggestions.

    I also enjoyed Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, very southern. Our favorite this year was “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton. Also recommend “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova.

    • I’m not familiar with “The Forgotten Garden” at all – will have to look into that one. Have wondered about “Still Alice” – glad to see you liked it.

  17. Told you you would LOVE “A Dog’s Purpose”. I rec. “Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lacks” for nonfiction.

    • LOVED “A Dog’s Purpose”, Cathie, and have recommended it to so many people. That “Immortal Cells” book is the one you were reading on the island, right?

  18. WOW, so many good book ideas, THANKS…I’ll have to get started on the list. Looks like Bree’s starting a Blog BookClub.

  19. This is where I’m coming for reading suggestions from now on! I’ve just finished reading Steve Hamilton’s “A Cold Day in Paradise” and now I’m about half way through “Winter of the Wolf Moon”. This looks like it’s going to be my kind of series. Thanks for the suggestion.

    One series that I really enjoyed is the “Irish Country”, series by Patrick Taylor. Many interesting characters with quirky personalities

  20. I have been reading a lot this as I sprained my knee tripping off my front step because I had not tied my shoelaces in my all consuming desire to make a Mickey Dee’s run for pumpkin pies…. ( how many times over the years have I yelled at my boys to tie their shoes…now they have retribution on their mom). Anyways….I love the Janet Evanovich number series and also The Hunger Games. Happy Thursday!!

  21. Russian sage is a good guess but reminds me more of anise hyssop also called agastache.

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