I’m perfunctory

From afar, I have been seeing construction vehicles on this stretch of the BeltLine for weeks, and today there were very few pedestrians around, so I went down to take a quick peek. That strange narrow addition to the wide sidewalk? That’s where many runners trod (although not this guy), to avoid the hard concrete…and it looks like they’re adding a strip of a bouncier surface…which is a bit late, but darned appropriate. The space to the left of the sign is allocated for the planned parallel streetcar line…which is coming no time soon, as near as I can tell.

We’re almost half-way through September, and the light is changing…and so’s the vegetation. Jessayin.

Light shining

In Joshua Rothman’s “Thinking it Through” (New Yorker, Aug 23rd), I came across the term motivated reasoning. He writes that it’s when your gut tells you what to think and your mind then figures out how to think it (paraphrasing).

Earlier on the Gail/Anthony/Tony show, I had seen a clip of a woman at the mic at a school board meeting on mask-wearing by attending children, who declared, “Science is not facts.”

Sounds like motivated reasoning.


Chimney art

When I see this design on the chimney, I think microscope. On a table. Or looming above one.

See it? See something else?

And now for something completely different…


Long before the present owners bought the place, this was the driveway to Hope’s cottage. It was white inside and out, with a long south-facing porch, and there was a closet in the back that had many puzzles we were allowed to select from on rainy days. The living room had a shelf with all the Wizard of Oz books in hardback, each with a different color cover; I was quite surprised later to find out that most people didn’t know there was more than one Oz book—the one I liked best was pale lilac…yes, I liked it for the special color rather than the contents. Anyway, much of the interior had beadboard for paneling, and it was the first building I remember noticing it. Hope taught me to make potato salad in the kitchen. One potato and one hard boiled egg per person, and one of each “for the pot.” Still a good ratio. Hope’s husband was in a wheelchair from mid-life (polio? dunno), and she needed to support the family, so she began a diaper cleaning service called what sounded to me like Di-Dee Wash that catered to households in the wealthier suburbs of Detroit. She did very well. Hope was a friend of my grandmother’s from college days, and that’s why she had the cottage on the hill and across the road from my grandparents’ property. I recall hearing that part of the original building had been a chicken house, thoroughly cleaned and moved and painted to become part of the meandering layout of the cottage.


Almost ripe is not ripe enough. That lower berry is getting there. A bird may well nab it before it’s fully ripened. Greedy buggers. [Black raspberries.]

I’m working on late-day sun protection for the “sun” porch, since we’ve lost so much of our vegetative protection to MaNachur. Seems pretty uptown for this cottage.


In general, humans tend to pattern recognition.

Here’re a pair of architectural detail patterns, the kind that aren’t typically included in a book of architectural details. I especially like the flanking solar lights.

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.

Pieces of landscape

New sports fields at the high school. I assumed the matching rust color in the building and “grass dirt” was deliberate. And, yes, I found that ball trying to escape to a nearby forest and tossed it on the field, where it rolled to the line between the fake grass and the fake soil.

Alley view. I stayed in the alley and minded my Ps and Qs.

Ah, there’s that across-lake mountain view, with cloud-caps.

Transhumance and more

First, we were headlight-flashed by a semi. Then, we saw a large, propped up, plywood sign with crookedy letters, “Sheep on road.” Okay, we’re wide awake; we saw this in Scotland, and usually the signs are not Fake News™. Next, we saw sheep evidence (like the black smears in the left lane), then we popped over a hill, and voila! sheep, all on the left side of the road, and extending for a LOOOOONG ways up the highway. We carefully crept along, alert to Stupid Sheep Behavior—that is, stupid from the vehicular point of view. Sure enough, we were most of the way past the flock, and a few decided to cross in front of us, and instantly were head-down browsing. Like…um…sheep, soon dozens more followed. We inched along on the far right as a semi was in our lane, heading toward us and trying to make headway against the flock drifting into his lane. Surely there’s room for all, no? Just so the sheep part.

The size of the flock suggests it was being relocated for summer forage at higher elevations. With all the fenced land, the only possible passage was via the highway right of way. In Europe, it is possible to find the networks of drove-ways that have been used for thousands of years for seasonal movement of domesticated herbovores.


Snake River, where the banks are not cliffs.

Snake River making Shoshone Falls, and the Falls making rainbows. The River has cut through a lava bed from long ago that blankets the area. If you’re back from the rim perhaps a quarter mile on that flattish lava bed, you can’t see the cut the river has made, making it rather like a giant ha-ha. This falls is so high that the progress of spawning fish is halted, and this is an excellent hunting spot.

Looking for loess

We did get into the train station this morning. Nice budget version of art deco details, as we also saw on the exterior.

Then we headed down the road…to Atlanta! Hey, look at that population! And the town further down the road: Macon. No kidding. Much larger population, so this is a true alternate universe.

Motored west to Loess Bluffs NWR. The Refuge is mostly Missouri River floodplain, and not the bluffs. I did notice our westbound descent to the floodplain, and only later realized that our path dropped down from the loess bluffs.

Above are avocets. These are great egrets. We also saw many great blue herons and assorted ducks and geese. And four white pelicans. Whatta surprise: pelicans.

And this national crane.

We’re overnighting by the mighty flat Platte, but this is a dug lake with a forest of motels adjacent. Nighty-night.