Exploring Fabius Township and St. Joseph County, Michigan, with side trips all over this Great Lakes state

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where is that treat?

When it is W on ABC Wednesday what else can I do but bring new Willow photos to you.......  Our rescued Golden Retriever is simply wonderful.  Why would no one come to get her from the Holland, Michigan, pound last January?  All I can say is "lucky us!"  She rarely woofs but is whacky about food.  She seldom wanders and always wags her tail.  Even Caliste the cat walks by her without running.  What a welcome addition to our corner of the world!

Many thanks to volunteers of the Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue group and especially to Willow's foster parents, the Molters, super volunteers for our local Animal Rescue Fund!

When one is never enough: more photos from WillowWorld.
Often regal
Wondering why this
door is a wee small
Most often on the run

Click on
any photo
to enlarge it.

More wallowing in W can be found on ABC Wednesday!

gushing about another gorgeous wildflower

(Click on photo to enlarge)
So once more she's wild about a wild flower, the very orange butterfly weed, very officially Asclepias tuberosa, or, as she just discovered, also called the pluerisy root because its tough root (very long I am told, thus making it a difficult transplant) was chewed by Indians for pulmonary problems.  And finally it is part of the milkweed genus.  Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for more information and the opportunity to buy seeds.

Monday, June 21, 2010

the wild rose

Some summers they are there at the top of the drive but other summers they have disappeared.  They are not showy but what a pleasure when one appears.  And today with a visitor to boot.  Unlike my sister I cannot grow roses well, so I rely on the these wild volunteers for my at-home rose fix.

Learn more about wild roses (only five single petals is their calling card) from the founder of American Meadows seed company,  Ray Howard.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rather pedestrian for Sunday Bridges

So marshy even after the long-gone snow thaw is this section of the Little Carp River Trail in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park at the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Hmmm, can we call it wilderness if there is man-made walkway through the marshy sections?! 

For slightly more sophisticated bridges, visit Louis' Sunday Bridge Series.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Water Festival time

Yes, the 54th Three Rivers Water Festival began yesterday!  The parade is tonight and the forecast is for thunderstorms.  In fact the promised rain is headed across Lake Michigan as I write this.  But clouds of any color are amazing and beautiful!  This photo was taken Tuesday as the sky prepared for the Water Festival......

Tonight is the parade which orginally took place on the Rocky River but the years have lowered the Rocky and tonight the marchers and floats (on wheels not a keel) will take to the streets, hopefully.
Before and after the parade are carnival rides, the Lions Club Ox Roast, St. John's Lutheran Church Strawberry Shortcake tent,  and the Woman's Club (the oldest service club in Three Rivers) Pie Booth.
The proceeds from all three go to support various causes.  For the Pie Booth, where you will find me, the money raised goes to college scholarships.  Yesterday we sold 200+ slices of pies and 30+ whole ones.  That's a whole lot of baking!

Oh, how did I forget another food event?   Tonight the Elks put on a brats and beer supper.  And since they are right on the parade route, there is the bonus of good seats to watch from.

Don't forget to check out more skies on Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So fetching this vetch for ABC Wednesday

Crown vetch is everywhere blooming its heart out right now.   I was happy when it migrated off the banks of the neighbor's road into the meadow and it is all around the house now where I have kept the landscaping natural, i.e., no grass to mow.

But now I learn two facts: that it is not really a "vetch" but a legume and not really a good choice for ground cover or erosion control.  It may be fetching to some but it is a pest to many.  Originally from the countries bordering the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia, it is considered an invasive plant that will exclude native plants.  Indiana to the south of us actively discourages its use as do Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The City of Ann Arbor is trying to eradicate it.  It does climb over everything in its path.  Here it is climbing up the Russian Olive also considered an invasive species.  I am surrounded!  But maybe I am an invader, too?  Thoughts to ponder at night in the country as we try to get the right balance in our world.
For less musing and more amusing on ABC Wednesday, please visit the other contributors.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nature's symmetry

Gene found this old turtle in the drive, headed where we do not know.  Blakes's phrase "fearful symmetry" comes to mind, but I am not sure the "fearful" applies here.  I have tried to identify him, but so far have failed.  Here is another view when Gene picked him up to move him out of the driveway.

That fellow in the masthead was in the vineyard last week and got very shy when I tried to get down on his level for the shot.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One of many on I75 for the Sunday Bridge Series

On another beautiful September day last year, we were headed north on I75 and almost to the "top of the mitt" as we call the Lower Peninsula and thus to the Bridge, the Mighty Mac.   But here you see the Indian Trail Rd bridge and the exit to Pellston to the west and Cheboygan to the east on Lake Huron.  Pellston's claim to fame is that record low winter temperatures for Michigan, and even the whole U.S., are often set here.  Cheboygan has a sister city in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan though spelled with an "S."

Many Michigan roads follow what were originally Indian trails with this one retaining the name of its origins but not the name of the people, the Ojibwe, who probably used it the most.  In St. Joseph County (though not in Fabius Township!) is US 12 which follows for the most part the Sauk (Sac) Trail which ran from Rock Island, IL, to Detroit, MI.

For more more bridges around the world, please visit Louis la Vache's Sunday Bridge Series.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Easy picking!

It's time to pick sweet cherries and the trees are loaded at Corey Lake Orchards.  Willow and I wandered the rows of trees and could not believe how easy the picking will be.  There are four varieties of sweet cherries to pick and these are the blush.  There are still come strawberries for sale as well as rhubarb and the hot house tomatoes are ripe and red and delicious.   By the way, the cherries are delicious, too.

It has been a tough spring for fruit growers though.  Early warmth and then freezes have cause many apples to drop off the trees. Rain and hail damage affected the strawberries in their crucial last week of ripening. Nature gives and also takes away. 

P.S.  And after the big rains Willow found all sorts of mud to roll in; she has not ever done a better job of covering herself with gunk.  A friend says that the largest part of a Golden's brain is dedicated to seeking out the putrid of the world.  Willow's brain is right up there with the best!

Friday, June 11, 2010

High noon sky over the corn field

and before the rains came!  The corn is now knee high and it is not the fourth of July.  Contrast this view with the earlier winter one and bask in the blue skies and warmth that is now Michigan.

For something less mundane, visit the extraordinary skies of Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No umbrage please on ABC Wednesday

Utterly lame for ABC Wednesday is this picture of Willow pausing, undecided, at the crossroads in the umbratic woods.  Please don't take umbrage since there is so very little umber in the woods these days with the recent rains producing ubiquitous green as well as the need for an umbrella most days.  Anticipating next week's ABC's is the light in the background above the vernal pond.

P.S. umber is another of those words morphing from describing the color of earth, dark or reddish brown, to an adjective meaning shady to another noun describing the state of taking offense, as in a dark mood?!   And the etymology from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin umbraticum, neuter of umbraticus of shade, from umbratus, past participle of umbrare to shade, from umbra shade, shadow; akin to Lithuanian unksmÄ— shadow.

Once again thank you to ABC Wednesday crew for sending me searching for words to justify my posting a photo of Willow!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another era

It makes me sad to drive past the lineup of machines with the "For Sale" sign in front of them.  This centenarian tractor is being sold because the man who farmed this land can no longer do so. Like most farmers in the county, he kept the farm going by having a second job.  In this case the job was digging basements, and mine was one of them.

Last year was the jubilee of the jubilee of this Ford tractor he once used.  I don't even know if Ford still makes tractors.  In the masthead is the Ford pickup which is lined up with this, another tractor, and a plow.  Interested? 

Although this farmland is no longer cultivated, there are many fields around it that are.  And land just west of this old farm which has lain fallow for as long as I can remember has just been cleared of brush and tilled once more. Don't know what crops will be planted but pretty sure it will be corn or soybeans, the crops in demand by the Pioneer and Monsanto seed production facilities in the county.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Under the bridge

Roaring overhead (just kidding) is M-107 leading into Porcupine Mountains Wildnerness State Park.   Quietly flowing underneath it is the Union River as it enters Lake Superior.  The Union is on the eastern boundary of the park and the Presque Isle River is the western boundary.  It is September and there was no one else on the beach with us that day.  Perfect!  Also no bugs.  Even more perfect!
Just turn around and here is the view looking inland:
For more bridges, be sure to visit Louis la Vache's Sunday Bridge Series.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the gazing ball

When the news of our world gets too grim and is grinding you down, try the rose-colored glass of the gazing ball to lift your spirits. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

End of the rainbow

Again we are north of Paradise and looking NE over Lake Superior toward Canada.  What else can I say, except just enjoy!
Enjoy more skies on Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It is ABC Wednesday again and the letter is T, in this case for tilling.  If you click on the photo, it will enlarge and you will be able to see part of the tractor's cab in the dust cloud.  This field is just across the road from the Cowling Road Bridge.  I wondered if tilling and plowing are the same.  In the American Heritage Dictionary, till, tilling is defined as preparing the land for raising crops by plowing, harrowing, cultivating, so this word encompasses anything done to prepare the soil.  Well, what soil is left if you are tilling very dry land.  This photo was taken at the end of last week before the badly needed rains came on Sunday.

Till by the way comes from the Old English, tilian, via the Middle English, tilen, and it is another one of those wonderful words that mean several things.  'Till we meet again is the shortened until and comes from Old Norse.  How much is in the till denotes the compartment for money in a store and also a purse or a supply of money,  And then it denotes glacial drift and the mixture of clay, sand, pebbles, boulders it brings with it.  And with that definition of till you are describing the land of Fabius Township. 

Happy T on ABC Wednesday everyone!   Click for more tours of T.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Amazing May

Already there has been the first haying which seems very early to me.  But now it is June and who knows what will happen next in this, oh, so very warm spring.  I tried to see if MSU (Michigan State University) had any statistics on average first haying and could not find anything.

I have been offline for two days now -- too much mowing of our own to do on Sunday and yesterday unable to get online during all the storms (we connect via satellite, one of the difficulties of rural living),