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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Looking for Orchids

So, I went for a walk this evening in hopes of finding the Rattlesnake Plantain in bloom. I couldn't find it at all! Hunted all the places I see the leaves in spring, and found none, blooming or not. Maybe it's having a bad year.

Here's what I did find:

The Pere Marquette River- always a beautiful place.

Pere Marquette River

Several puddles of Northern Maidenhair fern. One of my favorites.

Northern Maidenhair fern

A dark little toad, trying to hide. And if I'd showed you a longer shot you would have said he was pretty successful.


Light through the trees. I love scenes like this.

light in forest

And one little pink mushroom. No idea what it is except cute.

pink mushroom

I was walking the North Country Trail from Upper Branch Bridge to 40th St and back. About 3.5 miles total. I'm glad I waited till evening because it was pretty hot (for me) here today. Not bad in the evening, although I was still soaking wet when I got back to the car. (and no, I didn't fall in the river, haha!)

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

You Have to Look Closer

I went out in the field today to collect some small milkweed buds for dinner (they are yummy). Just looks like a messy overgrown weed patch, right?

overgrown field

I nearly missed my chance for that treat this year. The flowers are beginning to open. But I found a few tight buds I could harvest. Milkweed is so common, but so beautiful.

common milkweed

Hunting for small buds, I was pleased to find several of these guys- Monarch caterpillars. Don't worry. There is so much milkweed in this field, and I took so few buds, I'm not endangering the butterflies.

Monarch caterpillar

I filled my container and was headed back for the house when I spotted this bud that I could have harvested. But there was something more interesting on the plant. Can you find them?

milkweed plant

Which do you prefer, tails or heads? Two fresh little grasshoppers waiting for the right moment to check out the world beyond their doorstep.



See Need Something Green
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Friday, July 3, 2015

Back to the Marquette Rail Big Sable River Bridge

I had to drive past this interesting location on the north spur of Marquette Rail today. I've taken you there before (see link at end), but today I decided to get pictures that told you more about the bridge.

Here's the long view. The bridge spans the Big Sable River. (That's another one I want to follow one of these days. I've shown you the headwaters, and the outlet. Hamlin Lake is on that river). Here, it's not huge, but much too big for a culvert, so this bridge was built. North is on the left side, south to the right. Please note the height of the bridge.

Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

Look at those timbers used to support the rails!

Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

I climbed up to the railroad grade. First of all, look back to the south. The land does not rise to a bluff at the edge of the river like it does on the north side of the river. I didn't manage to get a good picture of the berm, but this is old enough that it had to be hand built. The amount of fill required to build a steep-sided berm about a quarter-mile long to create a level bed for the railroad is mind-boggling.
Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

See the white post down the tracks on the left? I walked down there, and as I expected, it's a "whistle" command. Since this is the approach to a REALLY dangerous intersection, that makes a lot of sense. These are live tracks with a couple of trains a day going to and from Manistee / Grand Rapids.

Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

Stepping out on to the bridge, that water is quite a long way down. I did walk out far enough that there was water beneath me, but the picture of the river from that angle wasn't as good.

Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

And here's the road intersection which the train has to cross as it's coming off the bridge. Fortunately, there is very little traffic on these roads.

Big Sable River Bridge on Marquette Rail

I know this isn't nearly as high or long as a lot of railroad bridges, but I wonder how much the engineers like going over this old relic.

See An Interesting Intersection
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Does your life seem a little out of focus with dirty valleys, hills and confusing patterns overhead? Maybe you are just looking at it from the wrong angle.

ripples in sand

ripples in sand

These pictures of Big Bass Lake are much more interesting than blue water and green trees (as much as I like those!)

See Remember the Creek
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Well, there seem to be just two little ones. They sometimes share and sometimes chase and bite each other.

red squirrels

What am I gonna do?

See Uh-Oh
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