Tag Archives: nature

A week at the lake

Last week, I dog-sat for a sweet Brittany Spaniel named Dolly who lives at the lake. Two of my favorites–a dog and water.

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Gorgeous sunrises greeted me most every morning.

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Six swans (2 are behind the tree) swam by every morning.

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Some days, the water was calm; on other days, there were whitecaps.

More pics from Mackinac Island

One of the things that makes Mackinac Island unique is that there are no cars on the Island, so transportation is via foot, bike or horse.

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Horse-drawn taxi
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Bikes line the streets

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Mackinac Island was an important part of the early fur trade but during the 19th century developed into a summer vacation destination. The Victorian houses and horse-drawn carriages are a step back in time.

We stayed at the Bayview B&B, built in 1891 and maintaining the charm of that era.

The Mackinac Bridge is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. It connects the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan and can be seen from Mackinac Island. There are no bridges to the Island, though; the Island is reached by ferry from either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace in the Upper.

Critters in my garden

Yanking some of the Golden Alexander in my garden (which is technically not invasive, but does spread and needs some aggressive yanking to control it), I happened upon this little critter enjoying one of the leaves. I was happy for the help in keeping the plant under control.

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Wonderful wildlife

At 3:00 p.m. yesterday, with school back in session, the Lake St. Clair Metro Park had few people but lots of wildlife, including these Canada geese, a crane and heron. I always feel fortunate to see a crane or heron, but to see both in one day was a joy.

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Canada geese

Crane at the shore of the lake

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Heron in the canal

Ode to Sadie

Belgium’s greatest gift to the world,

I used to think,

was chocolate,

rich and sweet,

an explosion of flavor

melting on my tongue.

And then I met Sadie,

a Belgian Malinois,

as sweet as chocolate and so much more.

She was bred to herd sheep,

but with no sheep in sight,

she now shepherds me,

walking by my side,

in case I think to wander,

keeping me line and in sight,

making sure I am safe.

Smart, strong, fearless, loyal,

lots of energy and anxious to play,

risking everything for a mid-air catch,

heedless of any danger,

running as fast as the wind.

So much fun to watch,

as I pop another

Belgium chocolate into my mouth.

Hiking in southeast Michigan

Our community college offers enrichment programs for retirees at very reasonable prices. I signed up for a summer series of five events (a lecture and tour of the Zoo’s Penguinarium, a talk on hiking in Southeast Michigan, two hikes and a canoe trip on a voyageur canoe).

The hiking talk was at the Community College on Monday, and I learned loads of useful information that would have helped when I was hiking in the Cotswolds (without a cell phone or map) or in the Lake District in northern England in November (when it got dark much earlier than in July) or in Sedona last January (where it was so cold when we left it did not occur to us to bring water). I came away from that talk thinking that I could be the poster child for what not to do when hiking. Note to self–always bring cell phone, printed map (in case my cell battery dies), compass, water, snack, flashlight.

The first hike was this morning at Stony Creek Metro Park, one of a network of thirteen parks in Southeast Michigan.

Stony Creek encompases more than 4,000 acres and has trails and paths for walking, running and bike riding. We walked along a trail through prairies and woods for a little more than two miles. Here are some pics I took along the way.

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Bees seemed to love these flowers.

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Polar bears

In the process of simplifying/purging, I came across photos from a Sepember 2009 trip to the shores of the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears. The hunting lodge where we stayed is on the migratory path of the polar bears and between hunting seasons, the camp owners decideed to offer opportunities to see polars bears.

We flew in on a four-seater plane, landing on a clearing along the Bay. The accommodations were austere (cabins only had heat at night and the bathrooms were in the main lodge) but the food was fantastic.

The camp was enclosed by a high fence and we only left the camp with armed escorts. Every day, we ventured out on makeshift touring vehicles (think ATVs pulling, small flat-bed trailers with old car seats bolted to them). Our guides were two man who had grown up in this remote area of Manitoba, 150 miles from the nearest city.

The opportunity to see polar bears every day, in their natural habitat, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were fortunate to have an aspiring photographer on the trip (my camera batteries died the first day), and these are his photographs.

I remember how blessed I felt to be one of eleven people on this trip, standing on the shores of the Hudson Bay, with beautiful flowers and fall colors all around–and polar bears in abundance.

A mother and cubs in front of the lodge
Cubs playing in the river

Some pics from my garden

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbekia) were a friend’s favorite and I imagine he would love this early-blooming variety.

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Early-blooming black-eyes Susans (Rudbekia)

My enclosed sunporch had to come down, which required moving one of my perenniel beds. The daisies got spread out along a side fence and seem quite content.

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Daisies along the side fence

The purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) that got moved are late in blooming, but this one took up residence among the black-eyed Susans a few years ago (and I forgot to move it–next year).

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Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) among the black-eyes Susans

This phlox had been dwarfed by the daisies when it was next to the sunporch. I hope it will thrive in this new spot with room to grow.

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Swamp milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata) is one of the butterfly attractors in my yard.

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Swamp milkweed