Monday, October 22, 2018

YOLO folks at Higgins Lake cottage autumn 2018

Jason before his haircut, with a goofy pleading smile.    
He instantly felt better after the haircut, as he felt cooler in the heat.
The scattered clumps of grey hair was the aftermath.  We swept the hair into a pile and left it out to see if the birds wanted it for nesting material, but eventually we had to collect it and throw it away.

Jason collecting zebra mussel-covered rocks from in front of our cottage.
 My display jar of chunks of Kona dolomite on the kitchen window.
Our day lily patch out by the road.  Looks like someone sprayed it with Agent Orange.  We don't know if the utility company sprayed defoliant under the power lines or if the plants along the road are victims of poisoning by chemicals that may have been dumped onto the road and washed into this low spot, but something or someone killed them all before they bloomed--before their time.
A spotted tussock caterpillar on our clothes pin container.  We'd never seen one of these fuzzy ones before, but they apparently don't do much harm, so we left it be.
Jason hanging clothes out to dry.  See? He can be domestic sometimes.
On one of our mushroom walks in the woods, we spotted a cardboard beer case along the ATV/snowmobile path we were following and Jason went to investigate.  We pick up empty cans and recycle them at the store, as they are worth 10 cents each in MI.  A treasure this day for Jason, as the case was still half full of unopened cans.  We think someone may have stashed it for a later use and then forgot about it.  It had been there several days, through a rain, so Jason transferred the cans into his plastic grocery bag and hauled them all home to drink.
Tons of acorns litter the paths under the oak trees this year.
Leaves are starting to turn and fall already.  This was an early one.
You can't really appreciate this, but that cat isn't real.  It's one of those trick paintings--part on the bench and part on the floor ten feet away--that make it look like a real cat when you stand at a particular spot.  In any other position, it looks like smeared paint on the floor--a mistake. You could sit on the bench and put your hand in mid-air and have it look like you're petting the cat.  It's all just in the perspective! At a local artist gallery in Grayling.
Well done.  
 Me in my birthday gifts from brother Tom.  Do I look like a badass or what?  The shirt, visor, sunglasses and floating lanyards for the sunglasses will all come in handy for our planned sail to Antigua soon.
Jason digging out a tree root from under the patio blocks.  It had raised the blocks so they were very uneven and breaking.  I'd been grumbling about it for months.  He tripped on it one day, so the roots had to go.
He's cutting it up with an electric saw.  The root was as big around as my forearm.
Once he leveled the one side, the other side's uneveness became more apparent.  So, we moved the BBQ grill and he leveled the other part of the block walkway so it is all pretty flat again.  A pile of loose roots he tore out is behind him.
We saw this car-b-que of a Ford truck as we drove down to a cider mill for my birthday.
The truck was fully engulfed in flames and the firemen didn't want us to stop for pictures, even though there was nobody else on the road.
The Fruitful Orchard in Gladwin, where the crates of apples are squeezed for their juices.  Here, several 'envelopes' of ground up apples are being stacked to be pressed for their juice.
The guys fold the ground up apples into these cloth envelopes and layer them under the press to get the cider.
The ground up apples are dumped through this chute to the trays to be folded as above.
Crates of different types of apples are dumped onto the conveyor belt to be ground and fed into the chutes to be pressed into fresh cider.  A true taste of autumn in Michigan.  Some cider mills have 'recipes' that mix different varieties for different tastes, but the guy here said they just toss in whatever crate of whatever variety they happen to pick up next.  It's all good!
A small pumpkin patch outside the cider shed.
Jason with a tiny apple he's trying to give to a child.
The cider mill had a 'petting zoo' of odd animals for people to look at this particular weekend.  It was their ''Fall Festival".  This tortoise had a wonderful shell with spiked edges and spiked flippers.
This caged porcupine was not happy at all to be having his picture taken.  There was a jar of his quills for sale on a nearby table.
A camel, really?  In Michigan?
Along with a zebra.
And a monkey in diapers.
The hay wagon we rode on through the orchard.  The tractor driver who pulled the wagon warned us not to reach out and pick the apples along the way or he'd have to spank us.  Jason got excited.
Karen and Jason on the hay wagon ride.  It was a clear, but cold, day.
A view of the orchard as we start the hay ride.
This orchard has 26 different varieties of apples growing.  The trees were surprisingly small, but loaded with fruit.
They maintained one row of grape vines for Concord grapes, too.  Of course, there is a hard cider 'tasting room', just like a wine tasting room at a vineyard.
An Amish cart parked along a fence inside the orchard.
The horse that belongs to the cart above.  We think the owner may be an apple picker here.
We saw a few pickers out in the trees.  You get paid by the large crate you fill from the bags you pick and it's hard work.  At the end of the day, your hourly rate could end up being anywhere from $2-14, depending on how fast and hard you pick.  They have a hard time finding folks to pick apples when the fast food burger joints pay $11-12/hour.
The peelings and mash after the cider has been squeezed out of them.
Karen selfie in front of the mash trailer.  I bet the cows would love to be munching on this stuff.  Or that horse.
Jason digging into the bag for our goodies.  The line to buy the yummy products wound all through the little shop.
Karen with cider and donuts for a birthday treat.  We also split a little blueberry loaf that was freshly baked, too,  Pumpkin spice donuts just add to the flavor of fall.  We gulped down the whole jug of cider in no time.  Yummy!  A visit to a cider mill is a fall tradition in Michigan.
 Still some grapes ripening on the vine at the orchard. 
Jason peeking through the grapevine.  I almost didn't recognize him.
 Nice looking Concord grapes and they taste just like Welch's Grape Jelly used to.
 Fruit on the vine.
 The gnarly old wood of the vines and supporting posts do their jobs to create nice bunches like this.
Jason back in the cottage, teasing out flower seeds from the heads of brown-eyed susans and other wildflowers we picked nearby on some of our walks.  We keep the cottage pretty cool and dress for warmth even inside.  He loves that hat.
We know stuff grows from seeds around here.  These sunflower sprouts in the front lawn are probably from our bird seed that some squirrel or chipmunk buried as a stash.
 The greens on the left are tomato sprouts from a tomato I tossed out to see if anything would eat it.  Something did eat it, and left the seeds in this planter; now I have baby tomato plants that will die when we leave for the winter.
 The drive down to the cider mill had a few colorful maples along the way.  The little swamp maples are often the earliest and brightest reds we see.  The colors are coming!
A ghostly little mushroom.  Sort of looks like an alien or a turtle face.
 More of those scary Old Man of the Woods.  Supposedly edible when they are young.
 Tiny orange saucers, called Orange Peel, present a bright spot on the forest floor and are edible, too.
 These speckled blue-grey delicates weren't a common sight for us.  It may be a Blue-toothed Entoloma, not to be confused with your Bluetooth wireless devices.
 This coral-like formation looks like it could be at home underwater.  White Coral mushrooms are edible.
 I like the little orange ones; they're so cute.  And their contrast next to the green moss pleases my eye.
 Jason found this littly guy emerging from a cup sac on the floor.  It is poisonous or deadly, possibly a Death Cap or Hated Amanita, so we left it alone.
 Another of the shiny brown heads emerging from a cup sac in the pine needles.
 Pretty rings of brown on this Shiny Cinnamon Polypore.
 A tiny yellow umbrella of a mushroom.  May be a Golden Waxy Cap.
 Coral/salmon and white bubbles of fungus on a rotting log.  Called Wolf's Milk Slime, or Toothpaste Slime, the pink one is supposedly common.
 An Earth Star puffball mushroom.
 So appropriately named, an unusual configuration.
 These mature Honey mushrooms ring a huge stump at the neighbors' cottage.  The young ones are considered 'choice' eating and I gathered a few platefuls before they got big and flared out.
This White Coral or Crested Coral mushroom is also edible, but we didn't try it.
 One of the big yellow mushrooms in our front yard has finally gone over to the dark side.  It's gotten greenish black and looks moldy.  Can mold grow on a fungus?
 A couple of heads of the coral mushroom/fungus.
This, too, is listed as an edible mushroom.
 A cute curly cue on the ground, I have no idea what it is. Perhaps the remnants of a puffball.
One of our evening visitors.  We have a group of three skunks that come by the bird feeder and gobble up whatever scraps I throw out.  They love the chicken skins and bones.  The three have different, but very pretty pelts.  They are practically blind, but have a keen sense of smell.  I enjoy watching them, but don't like that they are ferocious diggers if they think they smell a grub or worm.
 Catching Jason doing dishes.  Good man.
 A tree along the sidewalk in downtown Roscommon provides a bright splash of reddish orange.
 Some winterberry branches I picked.  Had to park the van alongside the road and wade through the cat tails to get these bright red berries.
 An old Studebaker truck at the recycling center.  Just caught my eye.
 Another snow shower in mid-October.  This scene is along our drive to Traverse City. A pretty dusting as the sun tries to come out.
 Traverse City still has some color.  It's location along the water keeps it a bit more moderate, and the colors here were a week or so behind the inland part of the state.
  A nice mix of color along one yard.
 Magenta pink against the orange and gold just stood out in contrast to the dark tree trunk and branches.
 A pink hydrangea still carrying its blooms.
 This burning bush looked purple and the red berries stood out.
 Main Street in Kingsley, MI.  We came here to see the pottery display in the lobby of the local library because Herb and Jean's daughter made it.  She teaches art at the local high school and was commissioned to create the piece.
 Here is the pottery display in the foyer of the library in Kingsley.  It's almost 100 tiny pots, each one different, depicting the donors to the library.  They were pretty amazing, really.  Such talent.
Such variety in the styles of the pots she made.  She has the kiln in her home workshop to fire them, too.
 Any fly fishermen would know this fly.  The library has an original 'Adams fly'.  That is a big deal, if you're into fly fishing.  Charles Adams created the fly from local items and made it famous on the Boardman River here.
The original fly made by Charlie Adams
 Others he tied and used locally.  He used rooster feathers from his farm and fur from local animals to create his own designs that seemed to work to catch the fish.
 An old photo of Charles Adams with a group of men who came here to fish the river.  Before cars, he used to take them into the area by horseback and bring them lunch.  The librarian was really proud to show us these treasures.
 We stopped by Herb and Jean's daughter's home, too.  They have a big yard, with lots of bright color still in view.
 I like the oranges, especially with the burnished edges.
 Jason admiring a tree near the driveway there.
 A burning bush dropped some of its leaves into the adjacent bird bath.
 This fieldstone house and out buildings demanded a stop along the road for pictures.  Such creative work in such an unusual medium.  Lots of field stone around here to work with.  The side of this garage depicts geese winging away.
 A view from the road.
 The other side of the garage shows a buck prancing away, all designed in stone..
 The building on the far left has a peace sign made of stones built into it.
 The two heads at the apex of the garage look like a chess king and queen.
 The house and another building. We didn't go any closer as we didn't want to disturb them.  What a gorgeous place to live, though.
 Look closely and you may spot the iron spider's web near the support at the back of the garage.
 Another panorama of color along the road.
 The town of Fife Lake is just a few buildings.  Looks like a ghost town from an old Western.  We took a different route home from Kingsley and passed through this tiny town.
 The view from the township hall along the road on the way back from Kingsley. 
Jason liked the way the leaves on the parking lot were so evenly spread.  A carpet of gold and brown.
 Jason enjoying some rays coming in the windows of the cottage.  My bags are in front of the fireplace, waiting to be packed for our upcoming sailing adventure.
 The bird bath has frozen over a few times already.  We have to break it open so the little chickadees can get a drink.  The blue jays just bang on it til it breaks if they get thirsty first.
 The coldest day of the year so far and Jason is out washing the van.  Go figure.
  As another birthday present, Jason had my geo-terrain map of the Glacial Lake Roscommon area framed for me.  It's hanging in the living room of the cottage.
 The winterberry bushes along side the road into Roscommon.  They are behind a bunch of cattails, but they stand out in the sun because they are so bright red.
My winterberry branches add a bit of brightness to the mantle.
With the winter and cold coming, we're leaving and will be heading to warmer climes for a while.