Musings

Lakeside adventure

Another foggy, dewy morning, with wisps generated by the arrival of Mr. Sun. This is a few minutes later, when the fog tendrils had disappeared, and the sun highlighted the dew-outlined spider webs across the field. Lovely effect.

We left the compound, and headed up to the mouth of Hurricane Creek. At present, it’s flowing straight into Lake Superior, with its tannic taint clearly evident in the crystal clear lacustrine waters.

We walked the 1.5 miles along the Norse Country Trail* to the Au Sable lighthouse.


On the way back, I detoured to look at this shipwreck. Those are large iron rods that held the wooden beams together protruding above the water.

I also spotted a few of these gorgeous endangered pink lady’s slippers (Cypripedium acaule). They’re orchids and

In order to survive and reproduce, pink lady’s slipper interacts with a fungus in the soil from the Rhizoctonia genus. Generally, orchid seeds do not have food supplies inside them like most other kinds of seeds. Pink lady’s slipper seeds require threads of the fungus to break open the seed and attach them to it. The fungus will pass on food and nutrients to the pink lady’s slipper seed. When the lady’s slipper plant is older and producing most of its own nutrients, the fungus will extract nutrients from the orchid roots. This mutually beneficial relationship between the orchid and the fungus is known as “symbiosis” and is typical of almost all orchid species. [USFS link]

This one had me stumped. I don’t remember seeing it or looking it up before. It’s Polygaloides paucifolia, commonly called gaywings. Given that its range is eastern North America from Georgia north to the Hudson Bay and inland as far as Minnesota in the USA, I should be familiar with it. So, have I forgotten? 😎

* Why is this stuck in my head? Of course, it’s really NORTH Country Trail. No Viking hikers sighted.

Layers of history

Today I walked around the old economic heart of A Real City.

The Beating Heart was these falls, the Upper Saint Anthony Falls, now marred? by a lock and dam.

The power the river generated, and this is the Mississippi so it is a mighty generator, ran the Gold Medal Flour mill on the south/west side…

And the Pillsbury mill on the north/east side. This is the underbelly of the mill complex. [Note fisher-person.] Now the mills are no longer milling, and this sacred place of the people who were here before the EuroAmericans arrived is irretrievably altered.

I quite enjoyed walking across the curving Stone Arch Bridge that seems to connect the two mills. It’s a pedestrian bridge now, although it was built for rail cars. The water on the left is the lower end of the Pillsbury millrace (it seemed to me), and the bridge crosses the main channel of the Mississippi.

And all this? Yup. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Crossing the plains

Steady eastbound motoring brought us from pastured beef with oil drilling, to pasture plus some row-crops (seemed almost exclusively wheat), to less and less pasture and more and more crop-fields.

Somewhere in there, the oil machinery disappeared, and then we got a few wind turbines. A few of these old-style windmills were scattered throughout.

Now, no photo, we’re in almost entirely row-crops, and no cattle/pasture whatsoever. Rain expected overnight, which is good as it is a bit dry; however, accompanying tornadoes are not desirable.

A more precise title might be along the lines of “Central continental longitudinal topographic and land use drift,” but, duh, too unwieldly.

Breaking our fast

We planned to lunch IN A RESTAURANT today (yes, first time since…) before the mask mandate change. We planned to sit on the deck. Turned out the deck tables were already occupied when we arrived (plus, in the full sun!), so we sat INDOORS. The tables were arranged for 50% capacity, and we had our space. Everyone I saw wore their mask except when they were eating. Including us.

We ate with a view of the Olympics—so clear!—and of the mouth of Lake Washington Ship Canal—plenty of traffic in and out. The open water to the right (outside photo view) is Puget Sound and salt water. The Canal connects the the freshwater Lake Washington (follow the water to the left for a ways) to the Sound. The Ballard/Chittenden Locks enable boat passage as there’s a 20-foot difference in the elevations of sea and the lake. The Locks block the migrating salmon so the lock complex includes a fish ladder. The water passing through the fish ladder has to be “adjusted” (long story elsewhere) to include salt water to provide the proper scent for the fish to want to jump jump jump jump jump up the ladder to their spawning grounds. Constructing the Canal decreased the water level in Lake Washington by almost 9 feet, so I imagine there was some hue and cry from landowners whose docks became useless. But construction began in 1911, so maybe there was more rah!rah!rah! and less dissent about such changes to real estate value etc. I’m just guessing. You can find more info on all this on the web; ’sup to you.

My seafood salad includes smoked scallops. So very yum. What a great meal to be our first IN IN IN a restaurant since, well, you know.

Micro-fun

Pollen puddle

The headlines for my walk today: rain, making pollen-painted puddles.

Screen-time focus: mapping archaeological site locations in Iberia, especially caves. More an obsession than a research need.

Today’s tale

Apple trees

Well, now; my yesterday oops meant we spent our money from the Pres, that really came from you and me and you and you and you over there, too. And some savings.

Woo-hoo.

And this consumer jaunt meant We Went To The Mall. We had a mission: to pick up a new laptop. We parked, we went in headed to the Apple Store…which was no longer across from Macy’s…wha?

Oh, “down the hall.” Cast our penetrating gazes about…there THERE it is!

But, nice lady says, no, you want downstairs…wha? Apple Store is now on two levels (mall has three). So much for our in-and-out without distraction strategy.

DOWNstairs. Yup. Nice man made the transaction happen…while I peeked around the corner at the new-device check-out area, presently closed to consumers because…Covid.

The six lovely trees poke up into the second story space reserved for tech assistance. Yay, nature.

In mall behavior footnote: every—EVERY—one I saw was wearing a mask. HOWEVER. Most people were wandering lackadaisically about…having totally missed the message AFTER Wear A Mask…the one that went: and Stay At Home and Away From Other People.

No wonder Covid rates are phenomenally high.

Iron moo

In other news, today I found an Iron Age twirly-horned cow sculpture behind a fence. That’s what I’m calling it.

Although: perhaps a lady-aurochs not a cow.

Fort Michilimackinac

Fortified: by a fort.

Flower fuss

Invigorated: by socially distant socializing with a long-time friend over cocktails.

Beyooootiful sunset

Enriched: by a wide expanse of beauty.

In which we see a Great Lake

Charcoal kilns ground

We felt the need for an outing today—a gen-u-wine Sunday drive. We stopped first at these charcoal kilns (at least, they’re for charcoal if I remember correctly). The smelting facilities were up on Lake Superior, but they established industrial-sized charcoal-making stations at some distance—this one is just a few miles north of Lake Michigan. And on private land, so I looked from the road.

Kilns above

And the Guru looked from above. The overhead drone shot shows the foundations of buildings that surrounded the kilns, and makes the complex look tiny rather than imposing. The arches in the shot above are probably 10 feet across.

Seul choix

Since we were close to Lake Michigan, we went down to Seul Choix lighthouse, although we didn’t go in. I wonder what the lighthouse staff would have thought if you could go back in time and show them GPS navigation….

Lk Michigan viewENE

And finally: Lake Michigan. This view is to the ENE, which is tricky on the north shore.

Look fast

Doomed building

Lately, about once a week I traipse by this building to see if it’s still standing. It began as a light industrial nexus adjacent to a railroad track.

Crepe myrtle trunks

Now the railroad track is gone, and the right-of-way is an artery for foot traffic, segways, bicycles, and the like. And the edifice was long ago converted into artist studios and apartments.

Such is the evolution of land use.

Topics of today

Petals aboard

Petals aboard.

Topics I spent time/energy on today, in no particular order….

Petals adrift

Petals adrift.

Stress…the basic physiology of it…from the what-happens-inside standpoint. This lead me to stress reduction…deep breathing techniques to calm the vagus nerve and reduce heart rate variability (aka HRV). My health tracker reports “stress” and HRV is what it measures. And my HRV numbers could be improved…so the lesson is: breathe differently. Well, how? Nasal breathing…for the inhale (new vocab: aka inspiration [haha; not kidding]), especially nasal diaphragmatic breathing, especially when exercising (expect a learning curve). Point of information: parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems—they work together/offset each other, and both are components of the autonomic nervous system—ANS)—you want to enhance the parasympathetic to reduce HRV. Somehow this also relates to fat-burning*. Man, this is a complex subject. Still learning/processing. Rather confused as the “breathing on the parasympathetic side” means increased HRV…I think. On the other hand, decreased HRV is not good as higher HRV is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. Arrrrgh! Wait…a clarification: higher HRV with physical activity is fine/expected; it’s too-high HRV during rest/relaxation that is not-good.

Portrait coffee mug

Coffee mug, portrait/stage light. #computationalphotography

Ben Macintyre’s “The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War” (2018). True story. Read to learn about the KGB. For example…once KGB, always KGB…also: the KGB has been practicing effective “fake news” for generations. Are you thinking about the mental habits of VPutin? I am. [He joined the KGB in 1975, mind you.]

Fringe tree

Fringe tree, also portrait/stage light (iPhone 11 Pro).

Social distancing; life/love in the time of pandemic. Ancillary topic: soap is not detergent. Context: people keep saying wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Common phrase. HOWEVER, if the cleaner you are using is liquid, you may be using a detergent. [First-world whine, I know. Do not get me started on podium/lectern.]

Daffy front center

Magdalenian lifeways in the Paris Basin. [You KNEW archaeology would be in this list somehow, didn’t you?]

Hole in leg

Darning mushroom. I inherited one from Mom, but I think it’s up north, although I could use it now.

* Topic shelved for another day: fat-burning happens on exhale.