Sunday, June 30, 2013

Measuring Up



Photos by Steve Hall
Pieter and his cousins measuring up to the bird silhouettes on the Environmental Learning Center at Au Sable. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June

June
The day is warm
and a breeze is blowing,
the sky is blue
and its eye is glowing,
and everything's new
and green and growing . . . .

My shoes are off
and my socks are showing . . . .

My socks are off . . . .

Do you know how I'm going?
BAREFOOT!

~Aileen Fisher




Photo by Grace Hall


Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Black Hills Spruce



Quite often we see Colorado Blue Spruce trees planted in yards around our town in the Black Hills and we bemoan that folks aren't planting our very own beautiful spruce, and state tree, the Black Hills Spruce, Picea glauca 'Densata'. And we just don't see them being sold in our area, either. So, what do I stumble upon in Michigan? I couldn't believe it...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Former Barn Lot

I've driven by this old house many times and finally took a moment to stop and take a photo of it. A wonderful old farm house, now empty and surrounded by conventionally grown potato fields. While it isn't an old barn, I thought the poem would be a nice addition, anyhow.

Former Barn Lot

Once here was a fence here,
   And the grass came and tried-
Leaning from the pasture-
   To get inside.

But colt feet trampled it,
   Turning it brown,
Until the farmer moved
   And the fence fell down;

Then any bird saw,
   Under the wire,
Grass nibbling inward
   Like green fire.

~Mark Van Doren

Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dinner on the lake




After dinner we set out in the rowboat with the kids. There was a loon in the middle of the lake fussing around in the water. As we got closer we saw it had a huge fish it was trying to eat. We watched him work at it for a while and he finally got it down. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Morning paddle on Little Twin


We often see loons looking for food on Big Twin Lake, even while the boats are zooming around. We rarely saw them on this lake fifteen years ago when we lived at Au Sable, especially on busy boating weekends. Back then we were sure to see them on Little Twin Lake, where there is a no-wake rule. We heard they are still nesting on the spit in the lake, so we headed out this morning with some binoculars and the camera to see what we could find. We were not disappointed! As we slowly approached, the pair came over right away to lead us away from the nest.
Pieter and I went closer in our kayak to take a picture and one of them came over to keep an eye on us. Here is a close up of the nest.
{Common Loon, Gavia immer}

{portaging back to Big Twin Lake}
This little girl is a pointer - a perfect moment of one of her cutest actions. Pieter, at the same age and on the same lake, was also a pointer. Here he is in 2011 on Little Twin Lake.

{headed back home for a latte}

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Climbing at Au Sable

These little ones love all the old wood around Au Sable to climb on!

Friday, June 21, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Cows




So much has happened with local food in northern Michigan since we have left this beautiful area. Fifteen years ago CSAs were just starting up and now there are farmers' markets everywhere with anything you could want. This week we were on our way home and stopped at a farm advertising grass-fed beef. Sara, owner of Rocking R Ranch, gave us a wonderful tour and we have never seen happier cows.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Water girl



This little girl loves water. Showers, baths, puddles, lakes. She took to kayaking from the moment Ben popped her into the hatch. She looks around at the sights and drags her arms in the water as we skim across the lake. Her papa had better start building some more kayaks soon!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Walking along the lake




Going for a walk along the lake with Papa means throwing rocks, getting wet and messy, and maybe even seeing some geese.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Baby Raccoons



{stick throwing}



{American Royal Fern, Osmunda spectabilis}


{Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum}

{sporangia of the cinnamon fern}

One of our favorite places to visit when we are in Michigan is the Kalkaska School Forest. Fifteen years ago we found this little gem while we were teaching environmental education at Au Sable. Only a few bridges existed then. It is so fun to see it now with such a big sign to let everyone know that it is a precious and loved place. And the boardwalks! They're everywhere! We'd love to know who put so much effort into making this such a great place to visit. Pieter and Juliana loved running around the preserve. It was especially fun when we were walking along and heard a pair of baby raccoons calling for their mama, who must have been out looking for a meal in the stream.

Raccoons
Did you ever look
near a wildish brook
or a green-eyed pond
with a wood beyond
and see (on the bank
where the grass grows rank)
a five-toed track?
Hands in front
and feet in back
like an all-four child
in a place so wild?
There a raccoon
on a late afternoon
or under the light
of a lantern moon
went looking for frogs
and mice to eat . . .
in his barefoot feet.
That's where he walked
in the thick black ooze
without any shoes.

And so will I
when the sun is high
in the wide June sky!

~Aileen Fisher

Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Snuggling with Maya

We are so glad Maya made the trip with us - we would miss these snuggles!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

First paddle of the summer

After driving for three days, we arrived in Michigan last night. We put the kayaks in the water today and enjoyed our first paddle of the summer. It was also Juliana's first time in the kayak. Who knew the hatches would be so convenient for the kids!

Heading East


{getting the wiggles out at a rest area in South Dakota}

{smelling wild geranium at a rest area in Minnesota}

We hit the road Wednesday morning and started our trek eastward. What a difference one day of driving makes in the photos above - from the plains of South Dakota to the woodlands of Minnesota. Last night we drove along route 8 in northern Wisconsin and reveled in seeing spring ephemerals in the forests. We spent the night at the cutest little motel in Crandon, Wisconsin.

{the Main Street Inn, Crandon, Wisconsin}

{packed up and ready for the last day of our trip}

{Lake Michigan}

Making it to Lake Michigan felt like we were almost there, but then, I guess we forgot just how big that lake is. Hours later we arrived at Big Twin Lake with a great sign of relief. One part of our summer road trip is complete. The adventures begin tomorrow!

Roads
A road might lead to anywhere-
   To harbor towns and quays,
Or to a witch's pointed house
   Hidden by bristly trees.
It might lead past the tailor's door,
   Where he sews with needle and thread,
Or by Miss Pim the milliner's,
   With hats for every head.
It might be a road to a great, dark cave
   With treasure and gold piled high,
Or a road with mountain tied to its end,
   Blue-humped against the sky.
Oh, a road might lead you anywhere-
   To Mexico or Maine.
But then, it might just fool you, and-
   Lead you back home again!

~Rachel Field

Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.
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