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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Can't quite get this right....for Weekend Reflections

Hosta leaves reflecting in the pond as well as gray sky, summer froggy and the "we live here all year now" goldfish resting or swimming about, all this for Weekend Reflections.  Enlarge by clicking on the photo.

Problems photographing this scene I gaze at so often: too many planes to focus and too much light contrast between the pond open to the sky and that part of it shaded by the roof.  (For full disclosure I should use quotes around pond.  They began life as horse troughs......)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday Morning

It was as if the winds were whipping up a batch of orange sherbet in the morning sky.  Very yummy to the eyes!
Find many more delicious skies at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Froggy went a courting? I don't know if that is what these two are up to but they were just sitting there this morning in the pond.  I was waiting to capture the birds but these two showed up and the birds didn't!  Do you know folk song, "Froggy went a courtin and he did ride, sword and pistol by his side,"?
Lots of versions around.   I am sure Burl Ives did it when I was a kid.  And now my favorite version is Bob Dylan's on a disk he made maybe ten years ago.  Just Dylan, his guitar and his harmonica!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Have I mentioned the Bouncing Bet?

In an earlier blog posting I listed all the wildflowers inhabiting our meadow.  And as promised I now belatedly bring you the "bouncing bet" for B on ABC Wednesday.  It is especially beautiful as it is beginning to open.  When in full bloom it loses the lavender you see in this blossom and is basically white.  Here is another site from Cook County, Illinois, detailing its pros and cons (somewhat poisonous to grazing animals) through recalling an abandoned farmhouse garden.  And like all my volunteers, Invasive.Org has it on the no-no list! 

In our strolls, and actually while simply standing on the front porch, we see wildflowers everywhere this year.  Did I just not take the time in previous summers to wonder at their being so abundant?  Even without camera in hand I am taking more time to look and to see what is growing all around us. And watchers of my blog know that this summer I cannot stop showcasing what some think of as weeds, invasive species no less.  I suppose they are if you do not want them in your garden or they are harming native species.  A neighbor has tried very hard to bring the meadows of his land back to original southern Michigan prairies.  It has proven very hard to do and I am sure he is bemoaning the lack of help from neighbors like me.  I just give up fighting them in the face of the overwhelming odds that they spread faster than I can hoe!

B's are everywhere this week on ABC Wednesday.  Be sure to visit!

Stargazer in the morning

One of the glories of any garden are the lilies, be they Orientals or Asians or Daylilies.  These Stargazers were dripping with dew and exuding stunning beauty on our recent humid mornings. 

In reading about this hybrid Oriental lily, I learned that it is a fairly new addition to the lilium family developed by a California breeder and introduced in 1978.  Called "star gazer" because its blossoms look up to the sky, it is the only lily in my garden to survive the deer who love, just love, the tender buds of lilies.  One time forgetting to spray with "deer and rabbit off" and the buds are done for!  I know it is not my cats who are eating them because their beauty is deadly to cats, and my cats are still in the business of dealing out death on their own to mice and voiles.......

Here is a site, The Lily Pad Bulb Farm, where you can explore and/or buy bulbs of many kinds of lilies and other bulbous plants.  Stargazers are so popular that they are available in any garden store or garden department at any big box store.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Once upon a time there was one......

And then there were two......
and now just across the road in Flowerfield Township, there are, oh no, too many donkeys!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Once more in the Porkies

The M107 bridge and a walkers bridge over Mud Creek displays several signs of being "up north":  the huge drift wood log at the mouth of the creek on Lake Superior; the orange lichen on the concrete; the oh-so-brown water.  You cross Mud creek just before you come to the Union River that is the eastern boundary of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  This stretch of beach is Superior at its best: beautiful sand, rocks large and small, driftwood galore, and very few people!  For people you go the presentations by the current Artist in Residence at the park.  Mary's Detroit Photo of Lake of the Clouds sent me back to my UP photographic archives, but not too far since this is from our trip last September.

Join other aficionados of bridges at Louis' Sunday Bridge Series.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rolling across the lake

A photo from our June days on Lake Michigan, it shows a morning storm coming across the lake.  A much stronger set of storms rolled into southern Michigan last night after leaving Milwaukee and southern Wisconsin soaked with over seven inches of rain.  But the high winds (determined to be small tornadoes by the national weather service observers) stayed just north of the most southern counties on the Indiana border.  But today should bring more storms as it begins with a temperature of 77 and a humidity reading of 90.  The air assaults you as you open the door -- oh, to be back on the beach which is almost always cooler than inland!

What a contrast with last year:  "July 2009 goes into the record books as the coldest July ever in Grand Rapids, MI with an average temperature (an average of all the high and low temperatures for the month) of 67.1°.  It’s also the first July when the temperature in Grand Rapids failed to reach 85°."  From the Grand Rapids WOOD TV meteorologist, Bill Steffins.

For less stormy skies, your best bet might be Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Accentuate the positive

For Michigan in July, here are three great positives: tomatoes, trees, and water, all in abundance!
The title of the blog comes from a Johnny Mercer/ Harold Arlen song "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on the affirmative, and don't mess with Mister In-Between."

For much more about the tomato, go to Ask.com and find the answer to whether it is a fruit or a vegetable.

And to buy these beauties and other great locally grown produce, visit Corey Lake Orchards.

And for more attitudes on A, check out ABC Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My, how you have grown!

Yes, I am the Mullein and you have seen me before when I fought the frost and the frost didn't win (Frosty the Mullein from April).  So see me now, straight and tall, guarding the Queen Anne's Lace at my feet.  I have a smaller cousin, who some may think is more refined, and I will introduce him to you some time later.

My photographer has found yet another botanical site for learning more about me: Botanical.com, a Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve.  She calls me "Great" and tells that I was once used as lamp wick.  More importantly, I think, I could drive away evil spirits.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Any view will do

Viewed from underneath Queen Anne's Lace is still gorgeous.  The QAL is filling the meadow with its delicate blossoms, but the  pink vetch, orange butterfly weed and waxy rose milkweed flowers are still there and the lavender blooms of the oregano contrast with the very palest of pink soapwort.  You also may also know it as  Bouncingbet and it was used to create suds for washing clothes in colonial America.  See the plethora of names it has gathered to itself at the Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide, including dog's cloves, London pride, and ragged sailor.

For more on Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot, here is a wonderful site from Canada, Ontario Wildflowers

Storms again last night, continued heat and humidity, but they are bringing all this beauty to the land!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monarch of the bridge

Gene is ruler of the suspension bridge over the Presque Isle River which forms the western boundary of the beautiful Porcupines Wilderness State Park.  In our twenty four years of traveling the UP every summer, we have done the trail along the western side of the river several times, in awe always of the waterfalls and amazing rock formations formed by the water.  The bridge is near the mouth of the river and takes you to a piece of land that is an island when the water is high, i.e.,  every spring. 

Join Louis' gang of bridges watchers at the series Sunday Bridges.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

a beast among the beauties

It was various shapes and shades of green that attracted this wandering photographer.  The hosta, the ginger, the holly I knew were there, but only as I edited the photo did I recognize the beast lurking in their midst, the poison ivy with its three toothy leaves.  Along with every other plant this summer the PI is also abundant, hanging out along the edges of the paths and, most dangerously, amongst the wild berry patches.  Caution in reaching those large, luscious berries is a requirement of enjoying them this year!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stormy weather

Yes, stormy weather with several waves over two hours of torrential rain, thunder and lightening, electricity interrupted briefly, all last evening, with a promise that a cooling off would follow.  Well it did cool off for about an hour.  But the humidity did not go away and the temperatures will again go over 90 today.   The sky is no longer stormy but the air still exudes a hot sticky oppressive feel.  Am I complaining?  YES!   Everything is growing quickly, except my will power to go out there and deal with the jungle of summer.  So join me in staying inside and enjoying a tour of the skies of the world on SkyWatch Friday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ZZ plant for ABC Wednesday

In the icon corner stands the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas, Common name "Zanzibar Gem") and it is tauted as the plant you can ignore.  I have had mine for six years.   Originally I bought it for one of the Carnegie Center galleries where we had so much to do we needed a plant that didn't require too much attention.  So we had rubber plants and philodendron and then the ZZ plant.  It was perfect!
Since it had gotten use to art, it needed such a corner in my house.

And there are Zs galore this week at ABC Wednesday.  And they will not put you to sleep!

You never leave home, do you?!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Life cycles

hmmmm, I have been talking about favorite flowers and now I pick this one -- a balloon flower at all stages of life, from the bud to the bust, and the oh so glorious in-between!

Here is another garden site on the web for you to explore more about the Chinese Bell Flower or Balloon Flower: Local Harvest

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blooming summer

My favorite summer perennial, well certainly when they are in such abundance and all due to their own efforts of self-seeding!  Usually I find the butterflies dashing in and out, but this summer the butterflies are few and far between, despite a an army of milkweed marching across the meadow.  All those seed pods have done their work.  In the archives you will find their photo: Potential.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Skywatch Friday: the blues win!

Lake Michigan near Harbert on the Red Arrow Highway soothes the soul with these wonderful blues!
Don't forget to check out skies around the world at Skywatch Friday.

an odd grouping.....

On the beach playing with my new camera I came across this intriguing grouping -- that doesn't quite add up.  But it certainly created wonderful shadows.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Y is under the yardarm

Early morning on the beach and all the sailing vessels (neither yachts nor yawls) are lined up waiting for another day on the water to begin and for that special time when "the sun is over the yardarm."  For one of the earliest possible times that could be, see Michael Quinion's  World Wide Words!

Early morning is the best time for walking the beach for many reasons: no one else around, not too hot, no need to put Willow on a lead!

And of course more Y's can be found on ABC Wednesday.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reflecting on Lake Michigan

Nothing better than this sunset on southern Lake Michigan!  We spent ten days contemplating and walking along and simply enjoying this one of the great lakes that define Michigan.  On one clear morning we could see the Sears Tower across the lake -- about 10 miles north of the Indiana border at this point the lake is about 50 miles wide.

And contrary to previous years there was no neighbor's internet connection for me to piggyback on, but now I am back to blogging.  I had hoped to let you explore with us this section of lakeshore which is very much a Chicago playground.   But Hoosiers also are in abundance.