Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Really Big Bird



This time of year not only are the spring bulbs glorious, but we begin looking birds just passing through as they migrate from Mexico to Canada. Seldom do most stay all summer. Here are the his spring's visitors. The crab apples are beginning to bloom, at least three weeks late. Daffodils and tulips make good companions. I've planted several varieties, so they are fun to watch them bloom. 


 The Spotted towhee, a ground feeder likes to dig in the leaves and grass looking grubs and bugs. We seldom see them here, so his visit is a real treat. We hope he stays, but he won't.





Here he is in the tree. I was hoping that he would go the bird bath by the patio, but he flew off.


 A consistent visitor to the Garden Spot each summer are the orioles that come in Mid May and stay all summer feasting the grape jelly that we put in their feeders. One male comes, then another and then the females. Right now we have two pairs. The males call to to each other letting them know that the jelly's in. We will feed them all summer and by summer's end the males will leave and the moms will bring the now fledgling kids to for a free meal.


My favorite bird is the lazuli bunting. For the past few years we have had two males come together. Usually they hit the feeders pretty hard for a few days then they are gone. This year, they seem to like to feed on the ground.


The photos are poor because the are so far way.



A white crowned sparrow joins the buntings. 


Of course we have daffodils still blooming. These bloomed after the snow, which was pretty hard on the early bulbs.



Isn't this one pretty?
 

We had a week of odd weather: Rain turning to snow to rain. As I drove home from town steam rose from the newly worked fields. It was a rather strange, so I decided to pull over  and take photo, but in the time it took to get out of the car and fuss with the phone, the steam was dissipating. The steam was caused from the breakdown of manure that had been worked into the ground. Pretty cool.



We had another visitor this week, a very big bird, a blue heron, looking for a free meal. I managed to get a photo of him through the bedroom window sheer curtain.


I managed to get this photo through the gap in the curtains that you can barely see the first photo. After his first visit, we were sure that he had eaten all of our gold fish, but they are there. I managed to coax them out of the deep. The pone has a shelf around the edge that the heron walks on, but the main pond is too deep for him stand in, he can't get to the gold fish--we hope.
I know they are just gold fish, but I have had some of them a very long time. We brought some from our old house ten years ago and I'd be sad to lose them. The two koi are fine because the are so large, the heron won't be able to eat them--we hope. So now they hide, but they are safe.


And that's what's happening at the Garden Spot this week. 
What's happening in your spot?

I'll be linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday.



Sunday, May 5, 2019

Road Trip


My husband belongs to a national organization, Pope and Young, that supports archery hunting. Every two years they have their gathering, meeting in various cities around the country. This year the meeting was in Omaha, Nebraska, a nice day's drive from here. We left at 5:53 AM just a bit before dawn. Omaha was just the beginning. 



We loaded our luggage in his F 350 Ford pickup and headed toward the Sun.

I agreed to go for two reasons: the keynote speaker would be Donald Trump, Jr. It is not very often that we have the opportunity or the desire to attend political events. Especially rare is to see such a high profile, controversial speaker. I knew that Trump, Jr. was a sportsman, so yes, I was curious.


Briefly, he spoke about how as a child growing in NY city and wealthy he became a sportsman, enjoying hunting and fishing and the out of doors. His main message had two main points: conservation and preservation of the outdoors and wildlife and getting children outside into the woods. It was a good talk. 

The next day we crossed Iowa and then the Mississippi at Davenport, Iowa. The river, the biggest one in the USA, was running even higher with all of the rain that the area had, and now we see on the news that Davenport if flooding as  the river runs out of its banks. When I told the cashier at the convince/gas store where we were headed, she said that it was snowing in Chicago. We had planned on staying Joliet, IL, but we there arrived early, so we kept driving in the snow.



Finally in the state of our destination, we spent that night in Kalamazoo, Michigan where it was snowing and snowed all night. 

Still miles from our destination, the snow storm of the night before had left its mark with skit marks on the center medium and road side all the way from Joliet on to Great Falls and beyond where vehicles had slid off the road. For us the road was dry and the sun was bright.

We were entering the North Woods of Michigan. Living in Colorado, we are used to mountain woods, but these woods are not wooded mountains; instead, what this Colorado kid would call rolling hills, but the landscape was beautiful.



Finally, after hours of driving we reached our destination, Leland, Michigan. My cousin and her husband left Colorado about 18 months ago to move to this charming tiny village on the shores of two lakes. Off season the town has bout 600 year round residents, but during the summer, it swells to 6,000. 


We received a warm welcome. I loved the welcome hen.



Jeanne and Jim couldn't wait to get us in the car and take us down to Fish Town, the old fishing dock where the fishing boats brought in their catch. Some of the little shanty fish shacks have been converted little shops, rentals, or empty. Since the tourist season had started yet, most shops were closed, except for the sandwich shop. We bought sandwiches--very good sandwiches.

We couldn't help but be captivated by the giant wood carved fish that defines the village.




Taken at sundown, I lightened this photo so that the village could be seen since it was one the best ones that I had of Fish Town, still not the best.


Jim couldn't wait to get us down to the lake, Lake Michigan either. He and Lamb Chop led us down a sandy path to the grand lake. Already in awe of the lake, this was the defining moment of our journey to the north.


Despite the cold and the clouds, the lake was beautiful. I took these photos with the iPhone. I was so impressed with the colors, the most beautiful shades of blue.


In the summer the beach will be crowded with swimmers and those just looking for some sun, but this day we had the beach to ourselves. Again, the magic of lake was enchanting.






I sent this photo to a friend, telling her that this was our Air B&B.



We came home with a few rocks, too. Who can resist pretty rocks?


One of my favorite photos.


Lamb Chop had a great run.

On the second day, we went on a tour of the area. One thing that surprised us was that this area has vineyards and orchards, mostly tart cherries and apples. The orchards were not in bloom yet; we could only image how beautiful the country side would be in color.

We had lunch in another tiny village, North Shore, at the Tribune. This is a dish that I would never order at home, but it tempted me: biscuit and gravy, topped with an over easy egg and I am guessing red beet sprouts. I was only able to eat half or less, mostly because it was a huge serving, but it was also very peppery, but so good.



Each window had these cool succulents planted in a variety of milk glass. So unique.



I had to take photos at the yak farm. We even found yak on a menu. And yes, according to the sign, Yak can be dangerous.


You can see the beautiful orchards.


Leland, Michigan is Jim's childhood home, so he had a lot of roots there. The little village sits on a peninsula between two lakes, The Big Lake, Lake Michigan and The Little Lake, Lake Leelanau. Only a short distance from the house is the little lake. Just as scenic and beautiful as the Big Lake.






Yes that is ice, and a leaf suspended in the water.

Our last night, we watched the sun set over the lake and Big Fish.
It was glorious. My cousin and her husband are just the coolest people to spend time with. We will be returning, but I may fly the next time. It is a long ways away but so worth the trip.



We followed the short of the Lake Michigan all the way to the top of it, winding way through the North Woods, enjoying the beauty of the landscape and the lake, still ice bound in places.Towns were few and far between, but when we came to a town, it was substantial, such as this one, Petoskey. As we took a detour, we saw the beautiful Victorians on the hill over looking the bay.



We continued on north to the Mackinac Bridge, also called "The Mighty Mac," it is an impressive structure. I could title this photo "Don't Look Down." It is the longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere and traverses the waters that connect Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. It is just short of five miles long.

This day, our first view of the towers were as they rose out of a blanket of fog. Missed that photo op.


Our journey continued along the west short of the big lake. Jeannie advised us to head north rather than south to avoid the traffic in Chicago. While the trip was truly amazing, we wondered if the long distance was the best way to go. Still, it was a beautiful drive, until we hit Wisconsin, where it rained. I remarked that we saw murrain in that one day than we have seen in five years in Colorado.


Once again we crossed the mighty Mississippi as we crossed the state line into Wisconsin, another beautiful state with its rolling hills, beautiful woods, and beautiful farms.



Hello Wisconsin 


We were headed to west to Chattfield, Minnesota to the Pope and Young Headquarters and Museum, on the Head Gardener's long time bucket list places. It is a museum that preserves and chronicles the history of archery hunting.




His hero, Fred Bear, great hunter and builder of bows. He almost looks like him. I think he met Bear years ago in person.


Next, he located the brick that he purchased. 



More impressive barns, some with barn quilts.






We knew that we were getting close to home when saw this sign:


Another one of our "Need to Do" trips is the Crane Festival in March in Kearney, Nebraska. We got very lucky this trip when we saw the Sand Hill Cranes peacefully grazing on the corn stalks in a random field. We stopped in a small town to get gas and saw the cranes, hundreds of them. The young lady who worked at the gas station said that the cranes that migrate through this part of the country were late this year, so we got see them after all.





It was good to be back home after traveling through eight states: Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana (a small corner), Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and one state that I don't have any photos of. We spent our last night on the road in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where visited another cousin and her husband and young daughter. If you are ever in Sioux Falls and are in the mood to shop for sewing machines, visit Heirloom Creations. They will take good care of you and tell them Cousin Ann sent you. I don't think that will earn you a discount, but certainly a friendly smile.


We have a beautiful country out there with so much to see and enjoy. Certainly, a road trip is the best way to see America. Maybe you remember that old car commercial that Dina Shore sang: See the USA in your Chevrolet. Only we saw a lot of the country in our Ford, doesn't quite have the ring, does it?

Now, we have busy summer ahead of us and there won't be anymore  long trips this summer. 

Thanks for joining me. I hope you enjoyed our trip. 

I'll be joining Angie at Mosaic Monday.