Friday, September 26, 2014

Cabin - Up North

Early in September Mike and I were able to get up to the cabin in Michigan's Manistee County for a couple of days.  We left on a Thursday after work and stopped for dinner on the way.  So it was getting dark as we drove, and the clouds and wind started to build.
The sun was low and the light from it hit the clouds.  Then a band of very dark clouds moved in.  See at the top of this next photo the dark band.  It rained that night.  Record rain for the area. Twenty miles away - 6.5 inches of rain in 12 hours was reported!  And there was wind, some straight line winds in the area.
It rained into the morning, but around noon it started to clear up.  We planned to hike the Manistee River trail, so we got ready and hoped we could get to the main road.  We did make it to the main road but had to stop several times to clear branches from the seasonal road.
We tried to start our walk from Red Bridge along Coates Highway.  A half mile from the bridge an officer was parked in the middle of the road and told us there were trees and power lines down near the bridge.  So off we go to find a different starting point.  We decided to drive up No. 1 Road to the Hodenpyl Dam.  Soon we came across a pine tree down across the road. It looked like a dead tree, probably not heavy, we both jumped out to move it.  We gave the tree a good pull but it wasn't budging - not even an inch.
So back in the car and we made our way to the dam on another road.  We parked near the Hodenpyl Dam and started down the trail.  The sun was out but it was also raining.  We saw more trees down too.
                                        Hodenpyl Dam

                                        Trees down along the trail
This is suppose to be the trail not a stream.  Where are my boots when I need them!
Then Mike made an exciting discovery.  White gentian.  Bottle Gentian.  And a bumble bee was working to get inside the flower.
            Bee half way in...
    Now the bumble bee is all the way inside the flower!

 It isn't long before you come to the pedestrian bridge when you head south on this trail from the dam.  And it isn't long before you are up high looking down at the Manistee River.
Each time there was a low, flat area near the river, we would go and check it out for wildflowers.  Here are a few that we found.
              Nodding Ladies' Tresses  Spiranthes cernua  Orchid family
This native perennial orchid is usually 4-12" tall.  While rather small in size, the bright white spike of flowers provides a striking contrast with the background vegetation and is fairly easy to spot. This one is just starting to open.
                    Bottle Gentian Gentiana andrewsii Gentian family
This native perennial plant is 1-2' tall.  The blooming period can occur from late summer to early fall, and usually lasts about a month. There is no noticeable floral scent.  Bumblebees are the primary pollinators of the flowers, as they are one of the few insects that can force their way past the closed corolla. Bottle Gentian is a beautiful plant with a striking appearance. The adorable flowers are often deep violet, although other shades also occur, even in the same cluster of flowers.

            Grass of Parnassus Parnassia glauca  Saxifrage Family
This one was a little roughed up, still a very pretty flower.
 We walked to the waterfall.  Then up through the pines back to the car.
It is difficult to get a good picture of the waterfall.  The edge is unstable so I wasn't getting any closer.  At the top of the picture you can see the footbridge.  
On Saturday we headed for home, that way we still have Sunday at home and makes the weekend seem longer.  We stopped at Ludington State Park in Mason County.  We did the same walk that I was on last month, around on the islands.  Since it was a Saturday and beautiful weather, the park was packed.  It was still an enjoyable walk. 
                       Hamlin Lake at Ludington State Park
                           From the trail at Ludington State Park.  
We went south after Ludington, and made a quick stop at Gale's Pond in Oceana County.  
                           Gale's Pond
                                Barn along the way.
On home we go, enjoying the blue sky, no more rain.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grand River Park and Grand River Open Space in Ottawa County Michigan

 Grand River Park- Ottawa County, Michigan
Early in September we had a beautiful day for a walk in the park.
Beautiful day, beautiful wildflowers.
 Moth Mullein  Verbascum blattaria  Figwort family

This is an introduced biennial plant. There are two basic color forms: plants that produce yellow flowers, and those that produce white flowers. The common name refers to the fancied resemblance of the flowers to moths.

       Great Blue Lobelia  Lobelia siphilitica  Bellflower family
 Beechdrops  Epifagus virginiana  Broomrape family 
This native parasitic plant contains no chlorophyll and obtains its nutrients from the roots of American Beech tree. Without the presence of this tree, Beechdrops cannot survive.
This  Jack-in-the-Pulpit  Arisaema triphyllum Arum family, had bright red berries that caught my eye.  It is a native perennial plant, the red berries are eaten by some woodland birds, including  the Wood Thrush and the Wild Turkey.
I saw more than one of these Hickory Tussock Moths (or Hickory Tiger Moth) Lophocampa caryaeVery pretty but don't touch.

We also visited another Ottawa County property.  Grand River Open Space - 10851 Linden Drive Allendale, MI 49544.  Grand River Open Space is an undeveloped 233 acre wetland with 1.25 miles of Grand River waterfront. The property has undergone restoration which included planting 15,000 native tree and shrub seedlings such as swamp white oak, black walnut, hackberry, redbud, black cherry, witch hazel, dogwood and elderberry plus other species native to the floodplain. 
Available at the property,
  • Small parking area and information kiosk
  • Off-trail hiking and cross-country skiing
  • Dogs are allowed on or off leash
  • Firearm and archery deer hunting
 Grasshopper on a dried Common Teasel at Grand River Open Space.
Another beautiful day outdoors with my sister Marie.  We are very lucky to be able to go out one day a week to parks and places, seeking wildflowers and other interesting things. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trail Cam Summer 2014 - Who is in the woods?

Shots from the Truth Cam throughout the summer.  The camera has been relocated from near the meadow and river to the middle of 20 acres of woods here in Ottawa County, Michigan.  Nothing much new, but it's always a treat to see what was caught by the camera.


     Fox in bush.

                               Skunk with raccoon
                                    Fox, someone is coming!
                             Small Bear? Nope raccoon.
                              Raccoon enjoying an apple.
                                    Skunk and raccoon.
                             Fox and raccoon confrontation.
                             Scared fox with pushy raccoon!

                          Fox hiding from raccoon.
                    Fox trying to make friends with the raccoon?

                              Friends now?
                    Fox hiding behind a stick. 
                  Ah, fox we can still see you.
                        Raccoon making a pig of himself.

               That's it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.