Mushroom Monday

It’s Monday here for about another hour, and I have a lot of mushroom photos to share – so you get Mushroom Monday. ;)

In between yet more storms and dressed for fall (all the layers: jacket, hat, light gloves…), we did lots of hiking this weekend. Seems like the weather hasn’t been very cooperative for much else – too windy for kayaking, and far too cold for diving. But, at least we have lots of beautiful places to explore on foot. I’ll check back in soon with some hiking images/stories. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite mushrooms from along the trails.

Have a great week! (I’ll be checking into all the blogs I’ve missed just as soon as I get my feed-reader working again!)

A Beautiful Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me! Another year’s passed, and they really do seem to be going faster. I don’t feel any older than I did this time last year, but the days are adding up, and I can tell I’m getting old. If there are no other signs, I am obviously more mature have more grey hairs, so there’s no denying it. Not that I’m bothered by it; aging is a pretty good alternative to my other option, and I’m not so sure I’ll look bad with grey hair ;)

I think Mother Nature finally took pity on me, and treated me especially well for my especial day. The weather couldn’t have been fairer, and Tony was of a like mind with me today so we spent most of the afternoon doing what we do in the spring. (That’s hunting morels if you’re unsure.)
TC

Because Father Winter lingered long past his welcome this year, Tony and I haven’t been our usual eager selves to check the progress in the woods. We know there’s not been nearly as much as one might expect by this time in May. However, my neighborhood walks with Petey have indicated that it’s time to start hitting our spots checking for morels.

While I love eating the mushrooms, my heart is really in the hunt. A friend and I swear it’s what’s actually behind the Easter egg hunting tradition. If you’ve ever delighted in finding Waldo, then you have an inkling of what morel hunting is like. Nature’s tastiest nuggets camouflaged against a gorgeous backdrop of rustling leaves and vibrant, ephemeral wildflowers. You get to walk amidst it all, enjoying the simplicity of each passing moment so that even if you don’t find any mushrooms, you’ve still won a great prize.

We didn’t find a ton – we brought home twenty that were acceptably large – but we found some: The season is afoot! Even if we hadn’t found any, I’d still have counted today as a gift. This way, there’s no doubt it’s going in the books as a perfect birthday celebration.

We did not pick the tiny mushroom, I just included it for funsies.

Gifts of Summer

The weather gurus have issued another heat advisory today, for more days in a row than I care to count. When we moved from the north Georgia mountains 1,000 miles north, I thought I’d miss the scorching heat of the summer. I do not. It offends me. It is not supposed to be this uncomfortable here. Not in this way. The weather can be unwelcoming in the winter; not now. If only my wishes had some impact on reality…

There is hope, for although it’s hot (hovering around 90 before the sun’s really high overhead), it is windy: 20MPH constantly with gusts around 30MPH. And breezes like that often come with a cold front in tow. We’ll be at least fifteen degrees cooler tomorrow, and perhaps we will do something besides splash in the lake before retreating to the comfort of conditioned air.

We have no plans, but that has never stopped us. What’s in store for you this weekend?

Enjoy these gifts of summer. You can enlarge the landscape-oriented ones if you like.

Summer clouds. Sure, there’s a science-y name for them, but it should be “summer clouds,” because that’s what they are. They followed me around the yard yesterday while I sweated mowed – never shading, just mocking.
summer clouds

An astonishing crop of cherries hang from the branches. Some of the trees are so heavy with them I wonder if they’ll sustain damage from the weight.
glorious cherries

glorious cherries-2

glorious cherries-3

Thistle, a mid-summer wildflower. Lovely in a thicket.
thistle

thistle-2

Or overlooking a pasture.
thistle-3

Golden light paints arching fence.
golden fencerow

A Quiet Moment at Sand Lakes

barbed fencerow

Summer seems to be on a faster time stream than the other seasons. We won’t talk about how much remains, because really it depends on what September chooses to do, but I just feel like the days are flying by. It could also just be that I’m getting older. Either way – faster time stream…aging blogger – we’re trying to squeeze in as many summer activities as possible.

Tonight after dinner, we relaxed under clear skies in the backyard for a while discussing what to do with the remaining daylight. Inspiration struck, and off we bounded for the Sand Lakes Quiet Area – a place we haven’t visited since…well, I don’t know when. Over weekends in the summer, Sand Lakes is a popular camping destination, but tonight the trailhead held only one other vehicle.


We spritzed on some bug spray and headed down the trail – an easy half-mile descent on a smooth, wide path. As an added bonus, the woods on either side of the trail is littered with wild blueberries. Though most of the low bushes had already been stripped of their fruit, I found a few lingering berries to enjoy.

As part of the North Country Trail, the path continues, but we stopped at the first of the lakes. We were in good company on the shore, surrounded by reeds, wildflowers, and dragonflies. And mosquitoes.

We wandered near the water’s edge, enjoying the evening quiet. Even the water sat still in the hush. As we lingered, I swear I felt time slow down for just a moment – a moment I’m holding onto in case I need in future seasons.

beside Sand Lake

I recommend opening for a larger view :)
west end Sand Lakes

A Pre-4th Paddle

Ah solitude. Something you won’t find around here today. Tony and I went for our four-mile walk around the block this morning, and it sounds like summer. Not the bugs and breeze and soft crunch of wet sand, either, but the incessant thunder of boats racing on the lakes.

Tourism slowly ramps up following Memorial Day and crescendos today, July 4th. I don’t blame the tourists for flocking up here – after all, I used to be one – but I don’t miss them when things calm down again after Labor Day. Since it’s appropriate, I’ll just remind myself that they have the freedom to travel up here (and back to their homes!), and for that we should all be thankful.

Okay, done grousing. Instead, I’ll share a bit of quiet time we captured on a recent after-work outing. Because the rivers and lakes do get so busy in the summer months – especially on the weekends – we opted for a mid-week evening trip down the Platte River in Benzie county. It’s clear and mostly shallow with a sleepy current, and is one of our favorite paddles. We always see large fish hovering in the depths in the river bends. We often spot whitetails and heron in the wide wetlands. And we sometimes witness the activities of other water-dwelling creatures.

On this particular trip, we didn’t see any deer, but we did see several woodpeckers, and only one other human (walking his three dogs upstream) for the entire 2.5 hour duration. Oh yes, we also floated downstream with an adventuresome muskrat, too (bottom, left photo in the gallery).

Happy Independence Day. May you spend it however you best enjoy it – even if that is in northern Michigan roaring around on a lake that I’d rather experience in quiet serenity.

Click any photo for a larger version in a slideshow