Autumn as late summer

Late sweetpea

A very few sweet peas are blooming this late. (Still no frost yet—shhhh!)

Green milkweed pod

Our super-crop of milkweeds has just a few pods that have ripened enough to open. Most are green like this, and smaller in size.

To the north

Tahq swamp at Danaher

We crossed this long flat stretch, marred by puddles crossing the road, knowing that the dribbles and currents they carried were waters of the Tahquamenon that evaded the culverts. We drove north, and it almost looks like it’s swamp all the way to Lake Superior; however, if you look closely, you can see the ground does ridge to the north. The swamp will end after maybe a dozen more big puddles.

Eagles Nest

Eagle’s Nest has changed a little over the years—and almost not at all, simultaneously. The bridge and cabins, yes, they come and go and are modified. The river—this is the Tahquamenon again—looks very much the same as in my oldest memories of this place.

GM Pickle Barrel

On up in Grand Marais (perhaps a corruption of maré, meaning sea, and transformed into marais, meaning swamp—which there isn’t here on Lake Superior’s shore, at least not a huge one), we once again beheld the Pickle Barrel House (on the National Register, BTW). This was a two-story home with a kitchen in an extension behind, built for Chicago cartoonist William Donahey, who drew The Teenie Weenies. He and his wife used it for a decade at its original location on Sable Lake, then it was moved to town.

GM food truck

Of all things to find in Grand Marais, a food truck! With “burgers” and “taco’s,” I kid you not.

Swan not singing

Turning homeward, we looped through the wildlife drive at the Refuge, and found this swan sleeping on one foot. We saw many swans feeding, often with a few ducks? (grebes? coots?) futzing around them. The latter didn’t seem to also be feeding, and we couldn’t figure out what the advantage was of hanging with the swans, close enough to sometimes annoy them.

’Shroom perspective

Gill shroom Tues

Two days ago, this mushroom was on the verge of prime. So fungal.

Gill shroom today

Today, the edges have flipped up and I could see the gills. Or the camera could capture them; I didn’t get my eyes down that far. Thank you, phone-camera.

Oh, and we’re technically in autumn now….

Ahead of full color

Maple leaf hosting

The maple leaves are a-changing. And this one is hosting some insect(?)-zits.

Moon under tree

The moon is big and bright, staying visible well into the morning.

Turkeytail fungi

Meanwhile, on a burned stump, the turkey tail shelf fungi is at its peak.


Pure harley

Pure Harley, I’d call it. Loved the copper-colored plate frame in contrast to all the chrome and silver-grey metals of the bike.

Stacked firewood

Our fine neighbors heat all winter with wood. This stack is like a wall next to the garden. By the next planting time, it won’t cast a shadow at all. The passage of time….

IDing by myself

Beach snapdragon

Down at the beach, the snapdragons are holding their own as summer wanes. I assume that these are long-ago escapees from my great-grandmother’s garden, but maybe not. They do not tell.

Salted mushroom

I think of the mushrooms that look salted like pretzels as Amanitas, and maybe this is the infamous poisonous Amanita muscaria. I did not pick it and I will not eat it.

That’s it for today’s botanical tour.

Light observations

Afternoon porch light

I’m loving being here this time of the year. It’s warm enough that we enjoy the porch almost all day. See! The windows are open!

I can also tell the seasons are progressing as gauged by the sun angle…the light never penetrates this far in the south windows in mid-summer.

Of course, the day length is dramatically different. I wake up in the pretty-dark dark if I wake up at 6:30. The first morning here, we had hinterland-quiet and the late dawn trick, so I awakened about 8am, somewhat discombobulated by the clock and the light levels “not matching.”

I have now adjusted. There’s still light at this hour in the evening (until the gov’t fidgets with the clocks); I think I’ll take one last stroll to the beach to seal the day’s deal.

I could write a short story?

Swamp river view

We drove across the swamp on a gravel road that’s atop a corduroy road. Saw only a few bits of corduroy, as the wood is now well-covered and pressed into the swamp-murk. The road was lined and sometimes crossed by plenty of puddles from yesterday’s rain.

Later, westbound on the north edge of the swamp, we encountered a dirty white pickup towing a garden rake, much narrower than the bumper it followed and probably from a large multi-purpose mower-machine. I think they were scuffing the road surface to come back and look for deer/bear tracks. Of course, I suspect the immediate goal was primarily to drink beer.

I was glad to see that in spite of all the rain, the Tahquamenon was running clear. Means runoff is controlled upstream. A minor victory in the world of logging, clearing, and climate change.

Harvest season notes

Plum tomatoes on vine

The tomato plants we put in during our last visit are productive! The Guru picked a plum variety, and these gems went in our evening’s tomato sauce. Yum!

Good thing we put the plants in the hardware mesh “squirrel cage” we brought up that I had made several years back. Seems the deer are happy to eat tomato shoots (and probably fruits), as evidenced by the nibbled parts that protruded outside the metal mesh. Who knew? Not me.

Mushroom trio

Also, this is mushroom season. We spotted tiny puffballs in the grass; I’ve seen them as large as volleyballs…but they have to escape feet and mowers first.

Grounded dock section

While this afternoon was sunny and pleasant, a wind kicked up in the afternoon. We found one dock section, both deck and support, bobbing on the beach. They were pretty waterlogged, so have been there for a while. I don’t know if we’d have realized they were gone if they weren’t adjacent to the dock as the water seems high and the deck seems complete without them.

Anyway, they are now rescued and standing on land drying out.

Travel tales

KY dawn

We got rolling before the sun was up. Eventually, we could see mist floating above the treetops in the valleys. When they opened up, we could see it laying across the hay fields.

Big Bridge above

Much later, we crossed the Big Bridge. I apologized to the toll-booth lady when I handed her a big bill. No, she said smiling, it’s fine—we all HATE ones.

Sunset over LkMI very buggy

After a quick burger, we turned west, and started killing bugs with the windshield. When we turned north, it was like it was an hour later, with the trees along the road blocking the orange sun that had been in our eyes.

Great day!