Tuesday, June 30, 2015



I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

~Joyce Kilmer

Stevenson, Burton Egbert. 
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1956. Print.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Passing Through

We were so lucky to have our friend Lois stop by for a visit as she made her way from southern Michigan to northern Wisconsin. Lois and I used to work at the University of Wisconsin together and we always enjoy reconnecting and hearing about where life has taken us. We went for a hike at Au Sable, out to the Beaver Pond. When Ben and I lived at Au Sable this pond was full of water and active with beavers. Soon after we left in 2000 the water table lowered quite dramatically and the pond became a meadow. Fifteen years later it is slowing becoming a pond again. These trails bring back so many wonderful memories. We are so lucky to walk them again. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hiking with the Daddies

{American Toad, Anaxyrus americanus}

{Wood Frog, Rana sylvatica}
{The nurse log, a perfect image of the North Woods}

{Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus}

{Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus}
{Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum}

Our time at Au Sable is filled with lots of play, but the spouse that is teaching at Au Sable is busy most of the week. By Saturday the kids are pretty excited to spend some outdoor time with Ben. Today we headed to a nearby favorite, the Kalkaska School Forest. It is a hidden gem that I wonder how many residents of Kalkaska even know about. Ben and I taught environmental education there years ago and it has been fun to return with our children. The paths and boardwalks have been greatly improved. It is pretty nice to go for a hike and have along a couple of pros to help find and tell us about many plants and animals.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grass River Natural Area

{wild raspberry}

{Sweet Flag Iris, Iris versicolor}

{Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum}

{Yellow Ladyslipper, Cypripedium parviflorum}

We ended the week of VBS with a picnic and hike at Grass River Natural Area, a favorite place of ours in northern Michigan. (Here is a look back to our hike at Grass River in 2013. Could Juliana be any cuter?) The boardwalks are so fun to run along and the rivers so cool to soak your feet in. The kids made the cool tie-dyed shirts in VBS and wore them today for a group picture. They made did so many great crafts! We can't wait to do it again next year. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Play Hard, Sleep Hard

As soon as we got home from VBS this afternoon, the kids disappeared outside. That is one of my favorite things about coming here - there is no whining about being bored. Just whining about being made to come home for food or sleep. When I finally got Juliana inside for a shower she disappeared into her room and didn't come out for a while. I found a little sleeping cutie patootie! 
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