Tuesday, October 29, 2019

YOLO folks Oct 2019

October at Higgins Lake is pretty fun.  That's me peeking out behind a large, fanciful, carved pumpkin or gourd.
 The Lord of the Gourd came to the Roscommon Library and carved these pumpkins and gourds for demonstration.  Here he is displaying one of my favorites of the day.
 I was inspired!  So I started small and carved this apple.
Here I am looking for Petosky stones and interesting rocks or pudding stones in a rock pile in a gravel quarry field.
 That's me in the red on the far right, at Lafarge limestone quarry in Alpena.  It's the world's largest limestone quarry (see your new atlas, it's on there!) and we could take petosky coral and other skeletized animals we found in the rock.  They were safety conscious to the max and we had to wear boots, hard hats, vests and safety glasses to get in.
 They only let us hunt on this upper level of the working quarry.  On the other side of the rocks on the right is a dropoff of hundreds of feet to the lower levels.
 Riding the quarry bus out to the area where they allowed us to look for fossils and rocks.  I had my hammer in the backpack in my lap and had two buckets that I brought back filled with limestone.
 My friend Laura and me.  I'm still decked out in my safety gear.  She is the one who told me about this field trip with a geology professor from downstate.  We were all described as 'former students' on a field trip so we could get into the quarry.
 I bought a vibrating lapidary polisher from a fellow rock club member to polish flat slabs.  The yellow base has a motor that vibrates the plate on top of it and the rocks move around and get polished.  I had to set it up outside as it is messy and very noisy.  The wind was blowing tree debris into the slurry, so I had to devise a canopy to try to keep it out.
 The slabs are weighted down with other rocks and they dance around in the soupy grey slurry, which has splattered all the rocks.  The tubing is meant to act as bumpers to keep the rocks from chipping each other or damaging the pan.  They also are supposed to keep the rocks moving as they bounce off the sides, kind of like rock bumper cars.  I'll have to wait for next summer to finish these as the weather moved in and I had to disassemble the whole setup and store it in a dry place for the winter.
A still, foggy morning at Higgins Lake makes a pretty scene.
 You can see the fog moving right to left in this photo.
 A view from the rocky shoreline on a foggy morning.
 Colorful trees along the road as we zip by towards town.
 The trees at our turn in the road. 
 One of the prettiest patches of color is right at our neighborhood.
 Red, orange, yellow and green--we've got them all.
 The lake gives up its heat and forms the low-lying fog on the lake in the mornings.
 Another quarry where we went to hunt for fossils and rocks of interest.  Got some fluorescent calcite and some petosky stones, favosite, and some small fossils of clams and bivalves.
 We worked in the parts of the quarry where there was no working equipment.
 This 'moat' separated the cliff walls from the rock piles we hunted in.
 A pool of crystalline green in the limestone.
 We generally stay away from newly blasted walls, but this was an old cut and the waterfall made it pretty.
 This bright yellow plant/tree was a stark contrast to the dull grey on this cloudy day.
 The oak trees this year turned a deep red to maroon.  Much nicer than just turning brown.
 Even these pine trees turned bright yellow this year.  It seems odd for evergreens to turn such bright gold and the forresters we talked to were as puzzled as we were.
 The white paper birch looks like a yellow torch in this roadside photo.
 The distant grove of maples is a heady combo of red and orange that unfortunately doesn't show as brilliantly in the camera shot.
 A pretty yellow stand of birch.  These cousins to the aspen turn gold just like they do.
 These ruddy scrub oaks are colorful new-growth bunches in the clear cut/burned expanse here.
 Jason and I think this is one of the most perfectly shaped trees we see on our drive into Roscommon, the nearest village to us.
 The roadside at our turnoff remains one of our favorite color spots around.
 Some color as viewed from the water of Higgins Lake.
 Late afternoon light still catches some color.  Imagine these in midday sun.
 Jason and Karen out for their last boat ride of 2019.  We finally got a sunny, still day to take the boat out for one last spin before we hauled it out for the winter.
Looking back at our cottage from the lake.
And then came the winds!  Several trees were downed in our neighborhood.  This one blocks the road just past our driveway.  The woodpeckers had obviously had their way with this dead tree.
 This red oak stands out against its evergreen background.
 A beefsteak tomato I've left too long....it's growing from the inside right out through the skin.  I wish I could intentionally grow tomatoes this well in the summer.
 Ladies Night Out in Roscommon is a local tradition where the local shops put out food, candy, wine, etc. and offer discounts and drawings to the ladies who visit the shops.  I spied these warm, woolly sheepskin slippers and thought Jason might want a pair, as he'd been looking for replacements for his.  None his size, but I got this pair and my feet stay toasty warm in them.
 Good thing, as the ice crystals here are evident in the bird bath.  I put fresh water in the pan to keep the birdies happy and give the squirrels and chipmunks something to drink.
 We drove south to visit a cider mill and this Amish buggy was just outside the entrance.
Bright red crab apples adorned this tree at the entry.
 The apple mash after the juice has been squeezed out of the apples.
 A bright red burning bush at the cider mill.  These are so pretty and they are all over the countryside.  I know the fall color has peaked when these are in full red.
 Jason playing with the apple boughs at the orchard.  It had been too wet and muddy to have the hayride this year.
 A few Amish buggies parked in the back.  They often come to pick apples for the orchard and bake goodies for sale in the giftshop on site.
 Concord grapes are another feature at this cider mill.  You can buy tubs of fresh grapes inside, but I like the way they look on the vine.
 This bright yellow tree has lost the top half of its leaves, and they form a pool of gold around its trunk on this lawn near Gladwin, MI.
 These two-toned maple leaves are some of my favorites.
 The red carpet in a park walkway when we stopped in Gladwin.
 We stumbled into the 'Jeep Creep' event at the city park in Gladwin.  This Jeep obviously had some fun in a mud puddle before arriving.
 There were hundreds of Jeeps at this gathering.  Many were decorated for Halloween.  So were the owners who were handing out tubs of candy to parents and kids in costumes who snaked by with Trick or Treat bags in hand.  These pirates really got into their costumes.
 A kissing booth for a donkey?
 Looks like this Jeep took out the Wicked Witch of the West.  Now, where is Dorothy to inherit those ruby slippers?  Another Jeep had fake arms and legs coming out the wheel spokes.  Gory, but cute for Halloween.
This big blow-up model of a Jeep was in front of the parkside mall building.

 The walk back up to our van went from these colorful reds, through the golds and back into the greens as we climbed out of the park to resume our drive home.
 A nighttime visitor to our bird feeder area.  We'd been seeing food scraps disappear overnight and wondered if our skunk friends had returned.
 More green aliens keep growing out of my tomato.
 The chunks of sodalite that I tumbled to a polish.  The dark blue is so pretty in person.
 These chunks I tumbled are all slag glass, from the late 1870's when they smelted iron and dumped the slag into the waters of the Great Lakes. The top and bottom left pieces are a deep purple when held to the light.  The lighter ones are bluish/grey and the swirls make them interesting to look at.  Many folks make jewelry out of the pieces they find.
 A few of the different colored pieces of Kona Dolomite I tumbled.  These were pieces I picked up at the quarry the year before.  Too bad the camera can't do the colors justice.


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