Nature Laughing 6/27/2011

After a week of dreary, cold, rainy days, we awoke Saturday morning to find sunlight flowing in around the shades that cover our windows.  I couldn’t get out of bed and the shades all over the condo pulled up fast enough!  In an Anne Bronte quote, she talks about “nature laughing in the sunshine”, and Saturday you could hear that laughter all over the island.  It was a g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s day!

Ted left for work at 10, and Jill called around 10:30.  Thank goodness for friends that will show up and hurry me up in the mornings.  I’m really not a morning person, and I will poke around until lunch if left alone.  With Jill pushing me forward, I finished a little housework and out the door we went.  There was SO MUCH going on this weekend!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  First, there was Friday.

Jill and I had hair appointments in St. Ignace at noon.  But, since there was also an Antique Car Show over there this weekend, we planned to go over early and see if we could spot some of the “oldies” (cars, I mean) before things got officially started.  We caught the 10 a.m. Shepler’s.  Remember this is Friday – one day before nature started laughing in the sunshine!  I snapped photos of the Grand and West Bluff as we passed in the heavy fog, never imagining the pics would turn out like they did . . .

I've got to add this one to the top five favorite photos I've taken over the years. The movement of the boat, the fog and the spray turned the water and landscape into a blur, but the Grand was focused. It looks like a black & white sketch, but the house to the left of Grand shows some red. It's just one of those once in a million shots that I never thought twice about when I clicked the shutter. Then when I pulled it up on the laptop, I was thrilled with the effect.


An eerie shot of one of the West Bluff cottages. This one sits on Pontiac's Trail.

We walked down to Doud’s St. Ignace Market when we got off the ferry, looking for some breakfast.  Then, by the time we walked back through town, it was time to head to the hair salon.  We did see some of the old cars as we passed through.

Doud's had a sidewalk sale going on. Before the day was over, vendors would be set up all along the main street in St. Ignace. The Antique Car Show is a really big deal!

Ok. I know cars just like I know flowers. This is an old red car.


This is an old blue car - or maybe it's an old blue truck.


Pam at Leroy's Salon in St. Ignace cut Jill's hair while mine was "processing". She slapped on hair color to cover what looked like four inches of gray roots where my hair is parted, then Jill and I exchanged chairs. When it was my turn under the scissors, Jill, of course, couldn't keep her hands off my camera. No more gray and about an inch less hair!

NOW . . . we get to Saturday and the sunshine!  As I said, Jill got me out of the condo by 11, and we headed downtown.  I wanted to go see the bats.  Yes, you heard me right – Saturday was Bat Mania Day on Mackinac.  The Mackinac Island Community Foundation brought the Organization for Bat Conservation to the island for an all-day program to teach people about the benefits of these creatures.  The organization brought along both native Michigan and international species of bats.  
If you’ve been to Mackinac and walked the streets at night, then you more than likely have encountered the island bats.  Walking on any island street at dusk or later, you see bats swooping back and forth, and you just get used to them.  There will occasionally be a lot of excitement when a bat flies into a store or restaurant during the day.  Tourists generally go berserk, and shop owners calmly get down their bat net, catch the bat, and release it out the front door.  It’s just part of Mackinac!
On Saturday different types of bats were displayed at four different locations – Windermere Point, Mission Point Resort, Lilac Tree Hotel Plaza, and the Island House Hotel.  I wanted to go to Windermere Point because that is where the BIGGEST bat species in the world was going to be displayed.  I was not disappointed!

Meet Camellia. She is a Malayan Flying Fox bat. She lived eight years of her life in a zoo where her wing was injured.


Rob Miles, the director of the Bat Conservation Organization, rescued Camellia about 10 years ago. Her wing is now healed, but she is no longer able to fly. She travels with Rob all over the United States, helping people overcome their fear of bats. Rob fed her grapes from his hand while we watched.


This is as close as I got to Camellia, but she really was a fascinating creature to watch. She wasn't bothered at all by the sunlight. Rob told the crowd that bats come out at night because that's when the insects they eat are abundant. Bats this big don't use echolocation to search for insects - the smaller bats do that.

We saw leaf-nose bats and vampire bats at the Lilac Tree Hotel Plaza, but Camellia was hard to beat as a crowd-stopper!
We stopped to visit Ted at the Vistors Center, and he took us out on the deck to show us the huge ship at the Arnold Dock.  We went down to check it out. 

It was the Great Lakes Maritime Academy's training ship, State of Michigan.

I told this cadet that I was a reporter for the New York Times and needed to come aboard to write a story about the ship, but he didn’t buy it. We did learn that this was once a Navy ship used to hunt submarines. It was also used for a time by the Coast Guard, before being purchased by the Maritime Academy. The Academy prepares deck and engineering officers for highly skilled positions aboard ships all over the world.

Also on the island this weekend were the Michigan Wheelmen, an organization that travels the country offering demonstrations and education on the bicyle from its beginning to the World War I era.  They are an amazing group of enthusiasts, and seeing them on their bikes in period costume is always fun and exciting. 


Talk about taking you "back in time"!


I never actually saw someone getting ON one of these bikes! How do you do that?


A daredevil!


Lined up on the street downtown, they made quite an impression.


Photographed alone . . . .


. . . I found them quite beautiful.

Here’s a few more photos from the weekend . . .

My favorite French Lane garden is up and growing and promises to be as beautiful as ever.


Three vintage baseball games were played on the island this weekend, and everyone was in period dress for those also - including the crowd watching.


LOL! Jane wanted me to title this one "Three Old Bats" (notice the "real" bat between our heads). If you read my winter blog, you know that Jane lives in Warner Robins, GA during the winter - about an hour from us on the lake. A group of lake girls went to Warner Robins in the spring to see a play performed by a theatre group Jane is in. She has a home on Mackinac and arrived this week.


The Pink Pony deck (next to the Visitors Center where Ted works) was rockin' out Saturday afternoon.


This little girl was trying out a vintage tricycle.


Vintage baseball on the Burrough's Lot below the Grand Hotel

Sunday was another beautiful day.  We went to church, had lunch with friends at the Gate House, took the dogs for a walk, then rode our bikes for about two hours on trails in the interior of the island.  It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
See you tomorrow with more pics from the island!

Note:  Title taken from quote by Anne Bronte:  “A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”

31 thoughts on “Nature Laughing 6/27/2011

  1. Wish I could have been on the island to learn more about the bats. When we celebrated our 25th anniversary we spent a week on the island at one of the houses at Silver Birches. One morning someone came over from the big house to see if my husband was afraid of bats. He went over and chased a couple bats out of the 2nd floor. During an expecially bad lightining and thunder storm a few years back a couple of bats got in our 2nd floor. It was a fun time getting them out of the house. It was about 2:00 in the morning when my husband discovered one of them in the stool in the bathroom. It was the biggest bat I’d ever seen but not as big as the one in the picture with you this morning.
    We’ve also been to many of the auto shows in St. Ignace. My husband loves seeing the old cars.
    The old bikes look like a challange as far as riding them goes.
    You certainly had an interesting weekend.

  2. You must be quite content and exhausted at each day’s end. The area has so much going on – there must be an amazing corps of organizers, volunteers and thinkers on that island as there is seemingly never a dull moment! Oh – some “other wordly” excitement I read about – Haunts of Mackinac (on their facebook page) mentioned some unexpected activity at Fort Mackinac the other night after one of their tours. So – even the folks in the other world are busy in the summer on Mackinac Island. Weather sounds promising for early this week – enjoy!

  3. Beautiful pictures as always! I liked seeing the one with Camellia the bat. I have never been afraid of them once I heard they eat mosquitos. I wonder how those people get up on those bicycles too because it looks to me like they would need a step ladder.
    Glad you had such nice weather this weekend. Happy Monday!

  4. Brenda,

    Well, I think I actually beat Hilde in the comments this morning. Unless she slips in ahead of me now because I’m such a slow typist.

    I sure enjoyed your blog this morning. Bats are so interesting, and those vintage bicycles. Maybe someone will tell us how the riders get on and balanced. I, too, have wondered for decades how that’s possible. “Three Old Bats.” Well, if Jill says so, but it looks more like “Two Beauties And One Old Bat” to me. Although I’m not a fan of lavender (maybe it’s the fragrance of lilacs that makes them my favorite flower), the lady in the lavender dress is really beautiful. That picture should be entered in something. I also enjoyed the picture of The Grand. That’s certainly unique. You should enter that too.

    OK, I’ve to get this in the comments before Hilde.

  5. My mom, grandma, and I arrived yesterday on the 11 oclock Star Line from St Ignace. What a full boat! Actually only a few people short of completely full. I am at the Windermere for the first time (been coming here for about 13 years but never stayed here), and it is very cozy. Perfect hotel for a single person while my mom and grandma have a room at Main Street Inn. Weather was great yesterday, hoping for more of the same today. We enjoyed a lunch at Horn’s and dinner at Yankee Rebel. I am sitting on the porch of Windermere right now, soon it’s off to breakfast and then to the Grand to walk the gardens.

    You will be at the Stuart House tomorrow at 11 right? I think that’s what you said. I will stop by and say hello!

  6. Wow, Brenda. Keep these great summer photos coming and give my best to Ted. I heard he was at the Sports Hall of Fame but didn’t see him. My friend Tommy Broadaway said he talked with him. You two represent the epitome of retirement.

  7. Hey Lowell, you must have gotten up earlier then I did today. Actually, it was raining this morning and it was just a perfect morning to sleep in a little bit longer. I’m a little like Brenda, a little slow to get moving in the mornings. 😉

    Sounds like the weekend was a busy but exciting one, with everything that was going on. I also wonder how they get ON and OFF those bikes. I don’t think I could ride one of those, but they sure are cool looking. I would have loved hearing more about the bats. I think they are very beneficial to the island. The State Of Michigan looked HUGE! The island definitly looked like the place to be over the weekend.

    • Hilde,

      I did get up at 5:00 this morning. I had to be in Lansing (35-40 miles) to have the cateract removed from my right eye. I had been told it would be a piece of cake and it was. I never felt or saw a thing. I was a little skittish about what was going to happen, but no problem at all. I’ll have the left eye done on July 11.

      • Lowell! You’re supposed to let your friends know BEFORE you have stuff like that done, so we can send up little prayers for you! Glad you are back home and everything went well!

  8. Of course the weather was beautiful on Saturday – we left northern Michigan on Saturday! lol!

    I love the photo of the Grand in the fog. Magical! And, after last week and the cold and rain, any photo of blue sky and sunshine is soooo welcome!

    We went into Chebotygan for some retail therapy during the cold and rain, and Eunice at the Black and White said to say ‘Hello!’ What a nice store! I purchased a few things, and wished I had more money. Eunice did say that new items at her store are posted on her Facebook page, a real benefit to say, someone on the island who might want to ‘window shop’ before they came over.

    • I’ve got a little shopping trip planned to Eunice’s store in the near future, Barbara. Glad you stopped in, and thanks for the tip about her Facebook page!

  9. Oh my gosh-that photo of the Grand….wow……that’s amazing. That’s got photo contest winner written all over it. Great work!

    I would have loved to meet Camellia and I’ll have to remember to pay closer attention to the sky next time I’m there! All of those small flying creatures look like martens and sparrows to me…

  10. When I was a little girl and with my family on vacation, a woman was telling us how bats will get tangled in your hair and will then build a nest. And there was nothing you could do about it! I believed her no matter what my mom said to convince me otherwise. So began a fear of bats for many years. I laugh about the story now. I mean, I never have seen a single woman walking around with a bat raising a family atop her head!
    Love the pictures. Sounds like a great weekend!

  11. Awesome! We had a similar Saturday, it was glorious! The girls enjoyed the bats but we didn’t make it through the entire Wheelmen demonstration. Since the time kept getting moved back, my youngest was long overdue for her nap. I love your blog- thanks for being such an inspiration! (some of my pics from Saturday are so similar to yours, it made me chuckle!) See you around the island!

  12. Loved the photo of the grand….what a one-of-a-kind moment that you captured! Also loved the story on the bats. I love watching the tourists try and dodge the bats in the summer….we’ve been there enough and are used to them, but I get a chuckle of the people screaming walking down the street at night.

  13. That’s an AMAZING photo of the Grand! When I first saw it I thought it was snowing.

    How do the Wheelmen keep those bikes from tipping over when they’re parked?

  14. Ok Bree, I asked you last week about writing a book. Now I think you should be a photographer. That picture of the Grand could go into the Art Museum! It is that AWESOME!! Call the Manoogians!!

  15. We were on the Island for the weekend and were also very curious about how they got up on those bikes. There is actually a little step over the back wheel (just big enough for your toes). You put one foot up on it and then you start kicking with the other on the ground like a kick scooter. Once you get the bike rolling then you hop up on it using that little step. Very interesting.

    I’ve been following your blog for over a year now…I lOVE IT, thank you. My husband thinks I’m a stalker because I will often say “Bree said this….” or “I think those are the condos that Bree lives in” lol. Now you know who I am and that I just LOVE keeping up with the Island when I’m not there. We try to make a trip every year and even got married there 10yrs ago.

    Thank you for keeping me in touch with the Island.

  16. Ooooooh! You could sell that foggy picture of the Grand! Sometimes the most unexpected and thought to be unlikely are the best shots!!! That picture is one of those!!!

  17. I did not know bats could get as large as Camellia. Very interesting!

    Loved the fog picture of the Grand. The landscape and water remind me of a Monet painting.

  18. That is the biggest bat I have ever seen!! So nice that the gentleman adopted the bat and helps people not be afraid. That picture you took of the Grand is amazing!!!!

  19. I just found your blog as I am researching bats for a children’s mid-grade fiction on the bats of Mackinac Island. I was thrilled to see your fruit bat photos as I just got to see that one at a conference for the Micgigan Alliance for Environmental Educators. The Cranbrook bat folk were there and I could not get a photo of this one. But she was huge! Nice shots. I was doubly thrilled as I just came back from the Society of Children’ s Writers and Illustrators conference that was held on the island this fall. Your photos took me back there. Thank you!

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