All in the Family 3/19/17

Well.  I have no idea what happened on Thursday with my blog program, but it seems two “Throw Back Thursday” blogs were published, although on my side of things I was being told nothing new was posting.  So – some of you may have gotten nothing at all, and some of you may have gotten three posts (I reposted one twice and then posted another to see if it would go through).  Hopefully, I have better luck with this one tonight!

This entire week has been all about spending time with family – Ted’s newly found birth family and our own blended family!

On Monday we dropped the pups off at Lily’s (our petsitter) and drove to Kissimmee FL to meet Ted’s Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan (Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister).  Also meeting us there were Kel, Gwen, Lindie and Mike (cousins we’d already met this summer on the island).  So happy these folks all spend some time in Florida during the winter months!

Clockwise from left: Uncle Dan, Kel, Mike, Gwen, Lindie, me, Ted, and Aunt Marsha.

 

Three cousins and an aunt – Lindie, Ted, Aunt Marsha, and Kel.

Sweet Uncle Dan presented Ted and I with a beautiful wooden cross he had created by a technique called chip carving, and he also made a smaller one for me to wear as a pendant. The workmanship is so delicate I can’t even imagine how much time this took.  The larger cross is made of cherry, and the smaller one is from butternut. Such a special gift from special folks.

Throughout this whole search Ted and I both have been blown away by the warmth, welcome, and love this beautiful family has offered us.  When we thought about how many ways this all could have gone, we were certainly hoping for a good outcome, but what we’ve received has been an all-out open-arms welcome from every family member we’ve met or spoken with by phone.  For Ted, and for me also to a lesser degree, it’s a bit overwhelming at times – but only in the best and happiest possible sense.  Since Ted and I both were “only children” (we thought), we’ve gone from a very small family group (Ted has one daughter, and I have two sons) to having well over 20 cousins on one side of his birth family – plus three siblings, two uncles, and one aunt.

There are already plans being made for us to stop by and visit some of these folks on our way to Mackinac this summer.  And we’re hoping to see more of them on the island.  It just doesn’t get much better than this!

On Wednesday Jason, Jen, and Alex arrived for a 4-night stay (Alex’s Spring Break).  We were a little worried they would be bored – the weather was really cool and windy, so beach time was going to be at a minimal.  We shouldn’t have worried!

On Thursday they spent the day at the Kennedy Space Center!

They got to experience a lot of the same things that the astronauts do to prepare for a mission.

Inside the space capsule with all the instrumentation.

Ready for blast-off!

On Friday they traveled north a few miles to tour St. Augustine. Lunch outside on a patio in Old Town.

Visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (there’s a wall of glass between Alex and Jen and that albino gator)!

In between all that, there was time for bonding with Bodie (don’t know what it is about Bodie’s crate that attracts kids, but they spend more time in it than he does) . . .

. . . . checking out the neighborhood on his scooter…

. . . . and even a little beach time!

There was also time for Jason and Jen to stay connected to work – because unfortunately adults don’t get Spring Breaks!

We were sad to see them leave this afternoon . . . the house is always too quiet after the busyness and excitement of visitors.  Hoping they can visit again before we head north in July (and hoping they can be persuaded to come to Mackinac again this summer)!

AND SPEAKING OF MACKINAC . . .

Warm temps melted a lot of snow this week, but here are a few pics from before that happened – and some from the little snowfall they had over the weekend.  You never know when you’re going to bike to the ferry, take it across, and return hours later to enough snow that you can’t bike home!(Photo: Greg Main)

A snowplow clears the sidewalk for foot traffic several days ago. (Photo: Greg Main)

Another from Greg – Main Street in the snow – minus all the shops’ awnings.

A week or so ago. Beautiful ice and snow along the shore. (Photo: Greg Main)

A few days later, and another side of the island.  (Photo: Greg Main)

Just after that last BIG snowfall. Island friend Meredith shot this off the back porch  of the Cedar Hill Condos. Have always loved red against snow!

This one is from Meredith also. She and her golden doodle Mason out for a stroll in the woods.

I think that covers us from here.  Wishing everyone a wonderful week, and I’ll meet you back here for a Throw Back Tuesday.  Now . . . . . let’s see if I can get this thing to publish!

God bless.

Throw Back Thursday – Thoughts on a Ferry 3/16/17

Personal Note:  It’s funny, as I’ve been going back and pulling old blog posts, how each one places me directly back in time, remembering the day I wrote the words and how I was feeling that day.  I remember snapping each of the photos in this one and planning what I would say in the captions – before I ever left the ferry that day.  Such special memories.

________________________________________________________________

First Published 8/26/12

Riding ferries back and forth to Mackinac Island has become such an engrained part of our lives that we consider it just as normal as main-landers opening their car doors each day and setting off to whatever event/store they have in mind.

Because 99% of my ferry rides take me to Mackinaw City to pick up the truck, I boarded the Mac City ferry Friday morning –  chatting to Jill a hundred miles an hour (and vice versa) – waved “bye” to her through the window, and took my seat about three rows up from the back (if you want to blend in with islanders and not appear to be a “fudgie”, ride in the back of the ferry).  I opened my book (Unsaid by Neil Abramson) and settled back to spend 15 minutes of bliss – reading with no interruptions.

About half-way across, I glanced up and noticed something strange.  The Mackinac Bridge wasn’t where it should be at that point in the ride.  Instead of being on my left, it was on my right.  And that’s when I realized I was on the wrong ferry.  I’d been heading to St. Ignace for a hair appointment, but in my usual “zone”, I’d marched onto the Mac City ferry, and the bad thing was Jill had LET me do it – knowing full well I was going to St. Iggy!  I immediately called her and said, “You have GOT to start taking better care of me!”

Pat, who works for Shepler, sat down with me just as I was disconnecting with Jill, and I told him “what an idiot” I am.  He got a good laugh out of it and said, “Just get off in Mac City, get back on the next ferry to the Island, then get on the right ferry to St. Ignace.”  Just like a man.  Didn’t he know that hair appointments were at a premium and I’d waited two weeks just to get on Pam’s appointment book!?

“No, no – that won’t work!”  I said.  I asked Pat to call and get the truck brought to the dock for me, which he did.

I was a little nervous because I’d never driven across the Mackinac Bridge before – but all went well, and I arrived for my hair appointment only 15 minutes late – with a good story to tell the salon ladies.

Two hours later – less gray and with 1/2″ of splint ends trimmed off – I crossed the bridge again, just in time to catch Shepler’s 3 p.m. ferry back to the Island.  Once again I chose the rear of the boat and opened my book.

Since earlier choosing the wrong ferry, my whole day had seemed a little off-kilter, and as the boat pulled away from the dock . . .

. . . I closed the book and decided to people-watch instead..

As I looked around, I began to remember the excitement I felt boarding the ferry in our earlier years.

I didn’t care one whit then if I looked like a tourist – camera hanging from my neck, sitting at the front of the boat, oohing and ahhing over freighters and lighthouses and the bridge.

I remembered the joy of the trip – riding with the front hatch open – the wind and crispness of the pure Michigan air promising us an awesome time on Mackinac . . .

. . . and I remembered shaking my head in dismay when the door was closed because someone complained about a little “spray” coming in.

I remembered making up stories about the other folks on the ferry. Maybe this couple was on their honeymoon – or maybe it was their first vacation since the children came along, and now the kids were old enough to spend a few days at Grandma’s and Granddaddy’s house.  Or . . . . maybe he was taking her to the Island to propose!

I remembered especially loving to watch the older folks. Could this couple be celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary at the Grand? Had they stayed on the Island on their honeymoon? Or . . . were they arriving for a grandchild’s wedding on the Island?

And I remember thinking back then, as we’d curve around the Passage Light – so closely it seemed we could touch it –  “Don’t let our days here go by too fast!”

While the ferry docked, I gathered my book, my bag of hair products, and my backpack.  As I eased out into the aisle and joined the happy fudgies setting foot on the Island for the first time, I looked around and tried to see the fort on the hill, the horses, and the busy downtown area as I did when we arrived that first time in July, 2000.  I remembered exactly how I’d felt.

And as I entered Main Street and turned toward home, I thought, “Don’t ever let me forget the magic of this place.”

I smiled all the way up the hill.

The Island, the Beach, and a Touch of Alaska 3/12/17

Hi Friends!

Most of this afternoon has been spent on-line, working out details for our May trip to Alaska.  I had no idea there’d be so many decisions to make!  Most of the hard ones involve choosing from dozens and dozens of excursions that can be added to an already packed schedule.  Do we want to visit a sled dog camp?  Do we want to actually ride aboard a sled pulled by sled dogs?  Do we want to take a small boat out from one of our ports of call to see whales and other marine life?  Do we want to hop a small plane for a bird’s eye view of wildlife and glaciers – or a helicopter that will actually land ON the glacier, where we can get out and walk around!  Of course if we’d won a recent lottery, all this would be so much easier to figure out.  But – no lottery money arriving here, so we’re trying to work out what’s going to fit into our budget.  More to come in the weeks ahead on that!

Hmmmm . . . wonder if that ice in the water will be melted by May?

Sticking with that “cold-weather” theme, Mackinac Island had their fair share of winter weather this week.

Friend Sue Conlon and husband Terry had to cross the Mackinac Bridge this weekend, and conditions were rough! That sign says, “High Winds, Escort in Progress”.  That means someone did not think they could cross without assistance, so a Bridge Authority person drove their car across for them.  I think I read the bridge was closed for a short time that day because of the high winds, but I could be mistaken on that.

A snowy scene from the island last week, just proving that work continues there, regardless of the weather. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A panoramic view across the icy Straits of Mackinac.  (Photo: Greg Main)

The Mighty Huron had a tough time plowing through the ice in the Straits on Saturday, but she made it.   (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful shot of the full moon from beneath The Mustang Lounge sign. (Photo: Josh Carley)

Probably the biggest news from Mackinac last week was the mysterious disappearance of the wildly popular Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page.  Clicking on the site brought a puzzling message saying simply, “This site has been archived.”  The site is the “go-to” place for information on the island, and the beautiful photographs placed there on a daily basis keep Mackinac fans entertained year-round.  There were hundreds of comments and pleadings for the return of the site.  Then, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it opened again for business this weekend.  All 23,000 of its fans – including this one – rejoiced and celebrated!

Wanted to share a couple of stories tonight that are both really interesting and very informative reads!

This first one covers last week’s visit to Grand Hotel by hotel President Dan Musser III and several full-time employees, “2017 Winter Visit to Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island:  http://www.grandhotel.com/2017-winter-visit-grand-hotel-mackinac-island/

This second story was featured on-line at MyNorth and will make you want to book a stay at Grand Hotel just to eat there!  It’s titled “Dinner at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island: 130 Years of Caviar and Aristocracy”.  Click here: http://mynorth.com/2017/03/dinner-at-the-grand-hotel-on-mackinac-island/

FLORIDA NEWS

Ted and I will be dropping off Maddie and Bodie at Lily’s (our wonderful petsitter) and traveling to Kissimmee FL on Monday to meet for lunch one of Ted’s by-birth aunts and her husband (Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan), along with Lindie, Mike, Kel and Gwen (we met all four of these cousins on Mackinac this summer, and Kel and Gwen were just here a couple of weeks ago).  So glad several of these new relatives like to come to Florida for the winter!  Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister.  Pictures to come next Sunday!

Bodie joined me Friday night on the deck to wait for the sunset.

It didn’t disappoint!

It’s still amazing that we get to enjoy views like this on an almost daily basis. We’ve learned that a scattering of clouds always produces the best shows!

It was a great night!

See you back here on Tuesday with a “throw-back”!

God bless.

 

Throw Back Thursday – Bear Learns Some Life Lessons 3/9/17

Personal Note:  As promised, a second blog from the paw of sweet Bear.

______________________________________________________________________

First Published August, 2009

IMG_4979

Hi!  Bear here.

Sometimes I just get too comfortable with my life.  I think I know what each day will bring – I get up every morning when dad wakes up and watch him make the coffee, then I sit around with him for a while.  Then when I think I just can’t wait another minute longer to go outside, I go jump in the bed with mom and wake her and Maddie up.  Once Maddie’s awake, I know we’re going outside pretty fast, because that little girl can’t wait like I can.  When she wakes up, she’s gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!

When we come back in, dad gives Maddie and me a bacon strip out of a bag (he thinks I don’t know it’s not real bacon, but I’ve had real bacon before, and believe me – that bag stuff is not real)  But, I never refuse food, so I eat it.  Then mom feeds us, and she and dad sit around and drink coffee, or go out on the deck and watch the people go by.  At some point, mom gets her yogurt out of the big box with doors, and Maddie and I wait while she eats it.  We know when she is finished because she always scraps around in that yogurt carton with her spoon.  When we can hear the spoon hitting the sides of the carton, we know that’s all she’s gonna get out of there.  Then she takes the spoon out and sits it down.  That means she’s done, and we can move in close and clean out that little bit of blueberry or strawberry yogurt that she has left – I call it breakfast dessert.

Then we settle down for a morning of rest – inside on the couch, out on the deck, or my personal favorite – right in front of that whirly thing that sits on the floor in the bedroom.  If I lift your head up a little, that wind can go right through all the fur on my neck and really cool me off.  The whirly thing is GREAT!

IMG_5022

Sometimes I have to get up when I hear dad come back from town on his bike.  I love that I can look out the back bedroom window to where he parks his bike!

IMG_5005

And so the day goes.  The only real change from the routine comes when I go get a shampoo and grooming.  I can tell those mornings because when mom says, “Let’s go”, she gets my shampoo and conditioner out of the closet and puts them in a bag.  Then I know I get to go for a ferry ride and a truck ride, and then I get pampered all day by the nice people at Bark, Bath, and Beyond.

So this morning mom’s reading her email, and suddenly she says, “Oh my gosh Bear, we’re going to be late!”  She jumps up, throws on her backpack, and says, “Let’s go”, but she doesn’t stop at the closet for my shampoo.  Instead we run downstairs, she puts on my collar, attaches my leash, and off we go down the hill.  I think to myself, “No worries, whatever it is, I’m sure it will be fun!”

As usual, when we walk down the hill we pass lots of people who say how handsome I am and want to pet me.  Mom is really in a hurry, but she stops long enough for a little girl to say hello.  She knows how much I like little kids and how much they like me ’cause I’m so soft and cuddly – just like a teddy bear (which is kinda how I got my name).

IMG_4952

Before we get to the end of the street, mom says, “Here we are.”  Here?  Where’s here?  We go inside this fence and go toward an open door in this building that’s like a big barn, and then I suddenly “get it”.  Mom brought me here last fall when I was sick.  This is where Doc Al takes care of the sick dogs on the island (he might take care of cats too, but I don’t want to think about that).

IMG_4954

Doc Al is a vet, and I know that he mainly looks after all the horses on the island.  But, if one of us smaller animals gets a tummy ache or something even worse, Doc Al is who everyone on the island calls.  If he’s nearby on his bike, maybe at one of the stables or barns, and someone calls him with a sick pet, he will just get on his bike and make a house call!  He will do the same thing if an animal is too sick to get to his office.  You see it’s different here.  Mom and dad can’t just put us in the car and rush us to the vet when there is an emergency.  And carrying a 90 lb. golden retriever down the hill to Doc Al’s office would be a little hard , even for my big, strong dad.  So, when he needs to, Doc Al comes to your house on his bike.  How cool is that!

When we get to the open door, Doc Al is on the phone, but we go on in.  I’m still wondering what’s going on because I’m not sick!  I feel great, in fact.  I know I have to take 2 pills a day because something in me called a thigh-roid gland doesn’t work right.  If I don’t take the pills, I get sloppy fat – would you believe I weighed 103 lbs. last year!  But it was this gland thing I had going on that was making me gain weight – it certainly wasn’t because they give me too much to eat!  Good grief, you’d think I was a Yorkshire Terrier by the amount of food they put in my bowl.

Anyway, Doc Al gets off the phone and gets down on the floor with me.  He’s telling me how nice I am and how good I look, then all of a sudden I notice he has this HUGE NEEDLE in his hand.  What the heck is that for?  He asks mom to take off my collar and hold my head because he’s going to draw blood OUT OF MY NECK!  Are you kidding me!  My animal doctor at home in Georgia has done this before when she was testing my thigh-roid gland, but she always stuck me in the leg.  My NECK?  Mom is holding my head, and Doc Al is trying to find my skin under all my fur, and I’m thinking, “Geez I wish I was back home in front of my whirly thing!”

Doc Al finds what he is looking for and sticks me.  I hold very still because mom and Doc Al are telling me over and over again how good I’m being.  That’s because I’m so scared I can’t move. If someone was sticking a needle in your neck, you’d be scared too!

He’s finally done, and I’m still breathing.  He stands up and puts all my blood down on the table (I’m pretty sure he took at least a quart!), so I figure I’m safe again.  Then he writes a bunch of stuff down and tells mom that he should have the results back tomorrow.  I guess then we will know if I have to change the number of pills I take for my thigh-roid condition.  I still like Doc Al though, even though he did kind of surprise me with that needle.  It really didn’t hurt a bit – I’m a pretty tough guy.

IMG_4957

We’d started back up the hill for home when mom takes out her camera again (can you believe I belong to someone who takes a camera to the vet’s office?).  She says it’s been too long since she took any good pictures of me, so today’s the day.  I’m happy about that – I love to pose for pictures!  When we get to the big yard in back of the island school, there are a bunch of geese there.  I LOVE to chase geese!  But what does mom do?  Gets me up as close to them as she can, then tells me to sit and stay!  Stay?  It’s GEESE, for pete’s sake!  So there I was, a few yards from about nine million geese, and I have to stay!  Why did I learn that command anyway?

IMG_4963

IMG_4972

After that, we just walked around the grounds at Grand Hotel, and mom took lots of pictures of me in front of lots of big flowers.  Things were going pretty well until she told me to down/stay in front of this HUGE bed of flowers out in the road at the Grand.  As soon as I started to lay down, I smelled something in the grass that I really liked.  I smelled it some more, then I just HAD to roll in it.  Mom didn’t get mad though ’cause she knew it couldn’t be anything bad smelling at the Grand – they wouldn’t allow that.  Man, that was some sweet-smelling grass!

IMG_4981

IMG_4982

IMG_4983

IMG_4984

She took one more picture over in front of the Grand’s Flower Shop, then we went across the street to the Pro Shop and took a breather before going home.

IMG_4991

IMG_4999

So it’s been a pretty eventful day for me. Mom asked me to write about my experiences on her blog, so after I went for a long walk with mom and dad and Maddie this afternoon, we had supper, and I sat down to think about all that had happened.  I came up with three lessons I learned that you should write down and maybe put on your refrigerator – ’cause they are pretty important.

1)  You should always leave the house looking your best, because you never know when you might have to pose for pictures in front of nine million geese, even when you just want to be chasing them into Lake Huron.

2) If you are going to roll in something that smells good to you, always make sure it is on the grass at the Grand Hotel – seriously, I didn’t even get in trouble.

3) You should always be ready for anything and always be alert, because when you least expect it, someone might stick a needle in your neck.

Well, the whirly thing is calling my name – talk to you again soon!

Throw Back Tuesday – Bear Writes a Blog 3/7/17

Personal Note:  Today’s blog and the one coming up on Thursday were written by Bear – this one is his very first!  I always loved it when Bear or Maddie asked to take over the laptop and pen a few words – it meant I got a vacation from writing that day!

____________________________________________________________________

First Published May 27, 2009

Hi! My name is Bear.  I’m a golden retriever.   That’s me in the picture below with my bratty little sister Maddie and my mom Bree (well, actually her name is Brenda, but she told me once she had never liked that name and had always wanted to be called Bree).  I don’t care – I just call her mom.  Maddie and I are not really related, although there was this 90 year old lady one time who looked at us and asked, “Are they brother and sister?”   Pleeeasseeee!  Do you see who mom is holding tightly in her arms in that picture?  Do you see that the brat has on a collar AND a halter AND a leash??  Do you see me just sitting there looking gorgeous without even a COLLAR on my beautiful neck?   Sister??  Geeezzz!

IMG_0441

Mom had been fretting all day yesterday about the weather and about how she couldn’t come up with a story idea for her blog (whatever that is).  She said the weather was really nasty – 46 degrees at 2:oo p.m., cloudy, threatening rain, not a good day to go out and take pictures. (I personally consider that a perfect day.  It’s chilly and there is a good chance I could get seriously wet.  What else could a golden retriever ask for?)  Anyway, she and dad (that’s Ted) were having a little “discussion” about him forgetting something in town again and that “somebody” had to make another trip down the hill.  So I said, “Come on, mom – let’s you and me go to town together.”  I know what you are thinking – dogs can’t talk.  But I swear, two seconds later she looked at me and said, “I think I’ll take Bear to town with me.”  Need I say more?

So she started getting on all these clothes – undershirt, sweatshirt, fleece coat, blue jeans, socks, wool cap, gloves  . . . . . . .  good grief! It’s not Antarctica!  It’s just Mackinac Island in May.  Tomorrow it will be sunny and 70!    So, she’s finally ready, and we start to leave.  Maddie comes running down the stairs like she’s going too, but mom says, “No, sweetie, it’s just me and the big boy this time.”  You should have seen her pout.  Mom put on my collar (a Georgia Bull Dawg collar, I might mention), attached my leash (leash law downtown) and away we went. I promise I did NOT look back and stick my tongue out at the brat.

Yeahhhhhh!  We got to the bottom of the first rise, and it started RAINING!!!  What fun is that!!  I could stick my tongue out and catch WATER!!  I don’t know why mom was so cranky.  I did happen to notice that all the tourists who ride around in those buggies pulled by those insanely big horses were all wrapped up like mummies.

IMG_0588

 IMG_0589

When we got to that gigantic white building where about a gazillion people stay every night , we spotted Anna who works for Grand Hotel .  She is always there somewhere outside the Grand, and she always has the most beautiful smile on her face and is so friendly.  Me and mom and dad just love Anna.  She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and dad always says to Anna, “That’s where I was born!”  He must have said that to her about a million times now.  I think that’s what happens when people start getting a “little older.”

By the time we had talked to Anna a few minutes, the rain had stopped.  That’s how it is on Mackinac Island – one minute it’s raining, the next minute it’s sunny.  I LOVE it!  Our IMG_0592next stop was the bank.  Mom stuck her head inside and asked if it was ok to bring me in.  The nice ladies in the cages said, “Sure!”  This really sweet girl wanted to pet me (I’m soooo used to that), and mom asked her if she would hold my leash while she did her banking, and she said she would love to.  I got a LOT of good petting and ear scratching from  her!

We stopped in to say “hey” to Bill and Jim at Mackinac Realty (they sold us our great condo), but only Jim was there.  He offered to babysit me while mom went in the post office, but mom said no, she’d just tie me up outside.  Huh?

Mom explained to me that dogs were not allowed in post offices anywhere, including Mackinac Island, unless they are seeing eye dogs.  I told her that I see with my eyes, but she acted like she didn’t hear me and tied me up anyway.

IMG_0594

We started back home, then ducked into the shelter under the awning at the Great Turtle Kite and Toy Store to warm up a minute.  The cute girl in that store invited us in (I can get mom in ANYWHERE).  I was really bummed out when I discovered that this was a KID toy store, not a DOG toy store, but I had fun looking anyway.

IMG_0596

When we got home, mom said, “I still have no idea what I will write about tomorrow.”  So I put my head in her lap, and said, “Don’t worry, mom, I’ll write it for you.”  And so I did.

News from North to South 3/5/17

Hi Friends!

The big news from Mackinac is one of my favorite four-letter words . . . . . . SNOW!

Over 8″ of the white stuff fell this week, and residents are happily off their bikes again and zipping everywhere on their snowmobiles!

This awesome photo from Mel Bunk (taken from St. Ignace shows a snow squall sitting directly over Mackinac Island.

This awesome photo from Mel Bunk (taken from St. Ignace) shows a snow squall sitting directly over Mackinac Island.


Anything sitting for any length of time was soon wearing a thick layer of snow - like these snowmobiles parked along Main Street. (Photo: Doud's Market)

Anything that sat stationary for any length of time was soon wearing a thick layer of snow – like these snowmobiles parked along Main Street. (Photo: Doud’s Market)


Eugenia Murray was downtown duringall that snow and took this beautiful photo of Market Street as the snow fell.

Eugenia Murray was downtown and took this beautiful photo of Market Street as the snow fell.


When Patrick Conlon left work at Grand Hotel, he headed up into the island interior to capture this great shot . . .

When Patrick Conlon left work at Grand Hotel, he headed up into the island interior to capture this great shot . . .


.. . . and Stefanie Congdon shot this one as she was leaving Stonecliffe.

.. . . and Stefanie Congdon shot this one as she was leaving Stonecliffe.


Hmmmm - sweet 9-year-old Kaylee (Tracy and Gabe;s daughter) sold 39 8 cases (that's 464 boxes) of Girl Scout cookies this year. Thank goodness the snow fell, and they can deliver all these by snowmobile!

Sweet 9-year-old Kaylee (Tracy and Gabe’s daughter) sold 38

cases (that’s 464 boxes) of Girl Scout cookies this year. Thank goodness the snow fell, and they can deliver all these by snowmobile!
A rare capture. A sun pillar

A rare capture by Robert McGreevy during sunrise on March 4 – a sun pillar.  Amazing!

So glad the islanders got a big snowfall, even if it did come late in the winter months.  I don’t think there’s any way now there’s enough time for an ice bridge to form, so this will mark the first time in I don’t know how many years the island has had ferry service the entire winter.  I may be wrong on that, but it seems as though last year there were maybe two weeks when the ferry couldn’t get through.  Someone let me know if I got that wrong.

Here’s a date to put on your calendar as you’re thinking about future trips to Mackinac – the 2017 Lilac Festival is June 9-18,and here’s a link that will give you all the details: https://www.mackinacisland.org/mackinac-island-lilac-festival/

One last Mackinac note: Many of you have written me about what’s happening on the Mackinac Island News and Views Facebook page.  If you go there, you will see a notice that the page has been archived.  I haven’t been able to find out what’s going on, but I just can’t imagine the page will no longer be maintained.  It’s a fountain of information about what goes on day to day on the island (not to mention the incredibly beautiful photographs that are posted), and there are literally thousands of followers who LOVE that page – including yours truly.  Hope it’s back up soon!

FROM SUNSET INLET

We were so excited Kel (one of Ted's newly-found cousins) and his wife Gwen stopped overnight with us last week. They were headed down to Cocoa Beach from Michigan for two weeks of Florida fun! We first met them when we spent a day showing them around Mackinac last summer. Hoping to see them on the island again this summer!

We were so excited Kel (one of Ted’s newly-found cousins) and his wife Gwen stopped overnight with us last week. They were headed down to Cocoa Beach from Michigan for two weeks of Florida fun. We first met them when we spent a day showing them around Mackinac last summer. Hoping to see them on the island again this summer!


Our view of the sun setting from the top deck was pretty impressive that evening!

Our view of the sun setting from the top deck was pretty impressive that evening!


Thought this was a cute pic of the three of us - four if you count the turtle!

Thought this was a cute pic of the three of us – four if you count the turtle!

That’s it for now.  See you on Tuesday with a “throwback”!

God bless.

 

Throw Back Thursday – Stick Season 3/2/17

Personal Note:  Loved looking back at this October stroll through the Annex on Mackinac Island. Seeing Bear in several of these photos brought back so many special memories of that sweet boy.

_________________________________________________________________

First published October 23, 2012

She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer, leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind. – Eric Pinder

Tonight I’m inviting you to come along with Bear and me as we walked for almost two hours on Sunday afternoon.  It was a beautiful day to be on Mackinac, and it seemed strange not to go to church that morning (Little Stone Church closed for the season last Sunday).  Ted took Maddie and walked her to town to pick up a newspaper, and Bear and I struck out in another direction.

I hadn’t been to the Annex in over a month, so I was anxious to see how the trees were looking in that area of the Island. Bear and I walked down Cadotte toward the Grand, then turned right on Algonquin just past the “caution” sign.  Algonquin runs behind the West Bluff cottages.

As we crested the first hill, I glanced at the path we sometimes take from Four Corners through the woods to Algonquin. It was literally covered in leaves now.

Walking down the back side of that hill brought us to the corrals where Teddie and McGuyver spend their summers . . .

. . . but both of them left the Island last week, and the corrals were empty. Either I’m going nuts or that is a new building (the yellow one) since the last time I was in this neck of the woods. Maybe they renovated an old shed that was there. Gotta ask Mary about that!

The “stick season” may be upon us, but even with some of the leaves already fallen . . .

. . . it seems the ones still clinging for life to the trees are putting their hearts and souls into making their last moments as beautiful as possible.

Bear, his nose always to the ground, seems to be finding it difficult to understand why there is less horse poop to taste test these days. I tell him it’s because there are fewer horses on the island now. He just keeps on looking though.

All of these are private corrals, and they’re all empty. Remove the horses, and you remove that earthy smell that lets you know it’s Mackinac. I miss the horses . . . and the smell.

At the end of Algonquin, we turned toward the lake. I stopped to frame a photo of the lighthouse between these two trees in one of the West Bluff cottage yards . . .

. . . then we went through the turn stile onto Pontiac Trail. Bear seemed to sense something different and came running back to me after he’d walked ahead. The bluff below Pontiac has been clear cut, something that is done every several years. It did take some getting used to, but just like the trees along Cadotte, before we know it the trees will be tall again.

The tree cutting (which opened up views of the stairs down to the water) does allow for exceptional views of the Grand now from along the trail.

At the end of Pontiac Trail, we made a sharp right, then a left onto Lake View Blvd.

We usually stay on Lake View until we reach Hubbard’s Annex, but on a whim we took a less traveled trail . . .

. . . and I found myself on a path I had never been on. Bear and I had a wonderful time wandering around back there – seeing a couple of houses, barns and stables we’d never seen before. It was amazing to find a spot on the island that was new to us!

It was later than I thought it was (we stopped to chat with some ladies who were staying at the Grand and needed directions), so we headed back home.

Every time I walk up this hill now I try to memorize this view of the condo so, during the winter, I can close my eyes and visualize it.

For the last week these trees down at the horse corral below the condo have been becoming brighter and brighter. I knew when I walked back Sunday afternoon, I wanted to photograph them and that splash of red the gate added. What I didn’t know was that a few horses had been turned into the corral a little before we arrived . . .

What a beautiful frame for these taxi horses . . .

. . . and the big Belgians who pull the drays.

Hope you enjoyed our little walk . . . it sure was nice having you along!