Entries to Win Afghan

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Twelve More Miles

I did another hike today- six more miles mostly along the Manistee River, and then back.

Manistee River

It's late and I have to get up on time in the morning, so this will be quick.

It was a truly lovely walk, but I'll just throw out a few pictures.

This is a kingbird sitting on a stump. Nothing too special, but he did sit still for me.


Then, I saw a really huge trumpeter swan. It was so big, I didn't think it was a bird at first.

trumpeter swan

And then his mate showed up too.

trumpeter swan

I ate lunch in the shade of some lilac bushes before turning around. Also saw a rose-breasted grosbeak, pileated woodpecker (and some smaller ones), and a green heron.

The evening was filled with the MOWA meeting. Lots of noise and unfamiliar people.

Hike 100 Challenge = 106 miles!

North Country Trail, Fletcher Creek Campground to M37 and back, Wexford County, MI, 12 miles

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Tree Named Coco (and other cool stuff)

I kid you not. This tree has a name tag, and it's name is Coco.

tree with tag that says Coco

I am chilling in my car, all set for the night. Not too comfortable sitting, but I'll live.

Today, I walked the 5+ miles from Hodenpyl Dam to Fletcher Creek Campground and back. This is a gorgeous piece of trail, and the weather was also perfection.

Here's the pond.

Hodenpyl Dam Pond

The Wood Betony is blooming. Some are yellow and some are maroon. These have yellow flowers with the purple leaves. I guess that answers the question about whether the purple leaved ones have the maroon flowers!

wood betony with yellow flowers

The trail is right beside the water for over half of the five miles.

Hodenpyl Dam Pond

I love it that we now see more of the native trumpeter swans than the alien mute swans.

trumpeter swan

A couple of pink lady slipper orchids were in bloom.

pink lady slipper orchid

And a tiger swallowtail butterfly on wild black cherry blossoms.

tiger swallowtail butterfly on wild black cherry blossoms

Can't let you go without one more view of the pond.

Hodenpyl Dam Pond

It was an awesome day, and tomorrow will be more of the same, because the event I was going to go to at the conference is a wash... so I'm going for another hike!

Hike 100 Challenge = 94 miles

North Country Trail from Hodenpyl Dam to Fletcher Creek and back, Wexford County, MI, 10.5 miles total

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What Happened to those Baby Lettuce

For the second day in a row I'm bringing you a plant failure story. I hope this isn't a trend. But this is a different kind of failure.

Remember the jugs I planted with lettuce? That was 18 days ago, and they sprouted 14 days ago. What we have here is complete refusal to get true leaves.

baby lettuce in a jug

They've had meticulous care, nice water level, brand new dirt from the store! I asked someone, and he thought maybe they wanted real sunshine.

I've been putting them outside during the day for a couple of days, but I think it's too late for these babies.

baby lettuce in a jug

Sigh. I'm going away for the weekend, but I'll replant when I get home, assuming they'll be even more pathetic by then. Dead, probably. I'm kinda bummed about this.

Anyway, this weekend is the Michigan Outdoor Writer's Association Conference. By sleeping in a tent and only paying for the basic registration, I can afford to do this. So this afternoon, I cleaned out the car, and started getting stuff ready to take. Actually, I'm lying. I think I'm going to sleep in the car.

I made some progress writing in the morning, and did finish the mowing, and a few other odd tasks. I have to leave tomorrow, because I volunteered to lead a hike for the conference, and I need to hike it myself tomorrow to be sure I know what I'm doing, since I haven't been on that piece of trail for a while.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Fascinating Fasciation- Starting with an Oops

TOTAL CORRECTION: This is actually arctic butterbur, a relative of coltsfoot. I've never ever seen it before! So, discount the first comments.

This picture was taken by Brady Schickinger in a hiking group on Facebook. I'm pretty sure it's not going to key out in any normal way. Perhaps you remember when I showed you the fasciated Evening Primrose (link below). That was also growing in the wild. It looked almost nothing like the plant usually does.

This effect happens for a number of different reasons. It might be genetic, or a fungus, or an insect, or a hormone, or a bacteria, or temperature anomolies, or.... At any rate, something interferes with the normal growth at the apical meristem- the tip where growth takes place. The result usually looks like some sort of monster plant.

arctic butterbur

Although, sometimes, this effect is desirable. Cockscomb Celosia, a popular garden plant, is an example of this. Another example that I've featured from flower shows is the various crested succulents. Here's one, Opuntia subulata cristata

fasciated plant
And another, this one is a Euphorbia, Euphorbia kibwezensis 'crest.'

fasciated plant
Back to the original picture. I'm really not sure what plant it is. There seem to be small four or five petaled flowers at the center of those globs, and it has alternate leaves. This makes me think it's a cress. But without an actual plant to take apart and study, I'm really just guessing.

Today was a total non-starter. I wrote 145 words, and called it a day. I have done nothing productive at all. And I don't really even care.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Pink Smiles

As you know, pink is not on my list of favorite colors. But sometimes, it's just what is needed to give a little upward bend to the lips or a twinkle to the eye.

The apple trees are in full blossom.

apple blossoms

The first of the fleeceflowers in my whatever-still-lives flower bed are starting to bloom.


And this was a nice surprise. I had a big patch of candystripe moss phlox at the top of my rock garden. It has been reverting to patches of pink and white, with not much of the striped flowers left. But look what came back this year! There better be lots of time to build rock gardens in heaven without the restrictions of too many damaging critters and not enough money.

candystripe moss phlox

In other news: I got quite a lot done today. In the morning, I wrote and turned in my newspaper column for this month. Then I did two loads of laundry. Remember that cup of coffee I spilled on my maps? Well it also went all over my bed, so I had to wash everything. Then, I got around to trying to start the mower. Usually I have to put it on the charger for a day, but this spring, it started right up. Wow! I got about 3/4 of the mowing done before the rain started and I had to quick take down the laundry! Not bad. I don't often do more than half the yard at a time. So, I didn't quite finish, but did really well. Now it's raining steadily. It's supposed to stop tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I can finish mowing on Wednesday.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Clear Springs at the End of the Day

It turned into a truly gorgeous day, and I was wondering if I could talk myself into going for a walk when I got home from the vendor event, because I'd been up since 4 am, and knew I'd probably just want to crash.

Then I remembered there is a lovely little nature preserve just off the interstate on my way home. It's at Fruitvale Road, north of Muskegon. I've been there a couple of times before, and thought I remembered the vegetation as being a lot more weedy. Maybe they've been doing some work to clear non-native plants. It's a nice shady place to walk on a hot day. I walked for an hour and did almost all the trails. The one drawback is that it's near US 31, so you really can't get away from the traffic noise anywhere.

I walked almost all the trails today, including two I haven't done before (this is my third visit). This is a big old beech tree on the Rim Trail.

beech tree

The Canada Mayflower, Maianthemum canadense, is starting to bloom.

Canada Mayflower

There were actually a number of large trees in the property. This is a really big red maple.

red maple tree

Carleton Creek is in the center of the preserve, and there used to be a fish hatchery there. A small dam keeps one portion of the creek ponded up a bit. It's been a cool, shady, dark green space every time I've been there.

Carleton Creek

Here's another picture of Gaywings, looking very perky. Those two toothed leaves in front belong to something else, however.


The vendor event went pretty well. Didn't sell a lot, but didn't lose money. Here are a couple of free pictures from the school yard.

The magnolia tree was just about done blooming, but a couple of blossoms were still intact.

white magnolia

And although I'm not a huge fan of ornamental crabapples, I do like these dark ones.

dark pink crabapple blossoms

Now, I'm clean and fed and plan to relax for the evening.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Robins in Progress

I'm just going to show you a nesting robin and then go to bed. Yes, I know it's only 7 pm.

robin sitting on a nest

The vendor event at Shagway today went well. The morning was cold and ugly, but it started to improve about 11:30, and a lot of people showed up to hear the live music in the afternoon. I did well on sales for that venue. Can't complain about that!

But, I'm beat. For some reason, I could not get to sleep last night, and I now can hardly keep my eyes open. I have to leave at 6:30 tomorrow morning for the Old Fashioned Days at Fruitport. Put all that together and I'm going to bed really early. Good news- the car is already loaded. All I have to do is print something, and put some rocks in the car to use as paperweights. Forgot to take them today.

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Beauty Surrounds Me

Spring is in full-tilt loveliness here, so I want to share. You've seen all these before, but not this year, so I hope you enjoy them again.

The is cowslip primrose, and it continues to do well in my un-kept garden.

cowslip primrose

The crabapple tree is wonderful, as it almost always is.

crabapple blossoms

Lots of common purple violets, but just because they are ordinary doesn't mean they aren't beautiful.

purple violets

I think my lilacs are going to look really nice this year. I'll take any blooming things I can get!


And finally, the pear trees are looking great. The sour cherry trees also had great blossoms. Now if we don't get a late hard frost, this might be a good fruit year.

pear tree

In other news: I wrote all morning, and then worked on my newspaper column in the afternoon. It's due on Monday. Seems like these months between deadlines get shorter and shorter! Also went shopping. Wow- Meijer was packed. I guess everyone local decided to shop before the weekend really began. I ran into 4 separate people I know that I hadn't seen in a long time. That was fun. But then a lady cut ahead of me in the checkout line. Instead of being gracious, I fussed at her, which didn't make her give me my place back, or make me feel better either. Wonder why I decided to be snippy today... I don't usually bother--it's such a small thing, and I wasn't even pressed for time. I also got ready for the weekend- I begin the summer vendor events tomorrow morning. Here we go. I think I'll need to hang on for the ride, but I've decided I've got to go all in to sell books.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

A group of hikers got together today to do another ten miles toward the Hike 100 Challenge. Thirteen humans and Trixie.

hiker group

We started at Timber Creek at US 10 and headed north.

hiker group

I just hiked this section ten days ago with Annie, but it's looking much greener now. One can almost believe that summer is coming.

The flowers that are out now are completely different. Gaywings, Polygala paucifolia, is always perky. It looks like a little orchid, but it's not at all.


I'm pretty sure I've IDed a new to me fern, Silvery Glade Fern, Athyrium thelypteroides. It was growing in an area that was a tiny bit more damp than most places along the trail.

silvery glade fern

We also saw several instances of the seed pods of last year's Indian pipe, Monotropa uniflora.

indian pipe seed pods
This hike ended at the road just north of McCarthy Lake. That little lake was as lovely as always when it's peaceful. No motors and crazy people there yet. Probably this weekend it will begin.

McCarthy Lake

A wonderful day. The weather was ideal. There weren't too many bugs.

Hike 100 is at 84 miles.

Just did a bunch of odd little tasks when I got home and cleaned up.

North Country Trail, Timber Creek north to 3-Mile Road, Lake County, Michigan, 10 miles

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