Wreckage

On August 2, several rounds of fierce summer storms swept through northern Michigan. We won’t talk about how I didn’t get out in time for the really awesome photos of one of the rounds of storms (not that I’m still upset about missing my opportunity or anything). Ninety mile-per-hour winds accompanied the last round that rolled through, with several notable downdrafts. The storm is reported to have been the worst one the area has seen in at least 25 years.
storm

We got lucky, losing only a few small limbs off our trees, but nearby areas did not fare so well. Today, we decided to hike one of the still-closed trails, taking the signs as more of a “you can’t sue us if you get hurt” warning.

The trail started off mostly clear, though we could see huge sections of forest on either side that had been laid over by the winds. Soon, though, we came across more substantial devastation.

 

Not long thereafter, our trail was lost entirely to a labyrinth of trunks and branches. We scrabbled on for a bit – finally turning back after a minor mishap that separated group like we were in a scary movie. (We all made it back to the car safely, though not entirely unscathed.)

It is sobering to see the tops snapped off huge trees and to see so many uprooted. It’s haunting to see trees fractured near the base of their trunks, and to see the scrapes the trees collected as they crashed to their deaths amid their longstanding peers.

On a lighter note, just before we rejoined the trail, we came across a fledgling squirrel. The tiny thing wasn’t moving well enough to run away from us, but it didn’t seem hurt either. Petey was super curious, so we allowed him to approach slowly. He jumped back every time the baby squirrel twitched at all, but he gently sniffed it, and then we went on our way.

squirrelypete

Whoever said pit bulls are inherently dangerous obviously never met this one.

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Settling In

We’ve lived in the new place in Traverse City for just over a week now. There are still a few boxes to unpack, but we’re really in the final innings now. We have a few loads of things to donate, and we have pictures to hang, but I think all the furniture pieces are in their final resting places. Since we gave up quite a few square-feet with this move, it’s been interesting to figure out just how things fit. I’ve gotten creative with some of the organizing, but so far the house doesn’t feel small – and I don’t think it will. I know I promised you photos, but that’ll have to wait until I feel like the house is ready for company 😉

Historically I’ve been a total task-master about completing the move. I’ve tried to lighten up a bit and just enjoy the new location some this time. In the midst of all the packing, unpacking, and nesting, we’ve gone on dozens of miles of walks – one of the things we most looked forward to with this relocation. Petey and I start each morning with a trek around two miles. There have been just a couple mornings when I didn’t feel up to facing the lake breezes, but otherwise we’ve started our days by walking to the bay. It’s a great way to begin.

It’s also a great way to end 😉 (All photos from our walk tonight to get ice cream and then visit the bay.)

 

 

Spring Is Happening!

We are finally, finally in the full throes of spring, and I just cannot get enough of it. Fortunately, my husband is very understanding about my need to be outside, and my dog might have cabin fever worse than I do. It’s a close call, though 😉

These past weeks, we’ve spent oodles of time outside, which means a fair amount of off-leash time for Petey. We’ve learned that he gets easily grass-stained, and that he does enjoy the water (weren’t so sure there for a while – he gave wide berth to any puddle we came across in the winter). The beach is particularly nice after a hot hike, because even on a warm day (I’m talking low 70’s/20C) the water is cold (38F/3C).
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Those who know me or who’ve followed the blog for a while know that most of our outside time has been spent in the woods. We’ve done hours of mushroom hunting, and haven’t been too successful until tonight. We’ve found a few, but we’ve been far more successful at finding cool things in the woods to look at. It’s not a bad deal. If I’m not going to find dinner, it doesn’t hurt to find pretty things. When you’re intensely focused on details like you must be to find morels, you tend to notice the details in other things. That’s how the teensy-tiny orange mushrooms grabbed Tony’s attention. And how cool is that teal wood? I have no idea why it’s that color, but that’s how I found it. Speaking of blue, how about those fungi on the tree? Such cool stuff out there, I tell ya!

Such cool stuff, and such scary stuff. Yes, scary stuff. Yesterday was one of the most glorious days a person could hope for. I took Petey for his morning walk, and just wanted to call in “Can’t focus – too pretty out.”


I didn’t, but I wanted to. And Petey wanted me to, too, because he kept going to the back door and plaintively looking back at me. Eventually it dawned on me that it would be a perfect day for working on the patio. I grabbed my laptop, phone, and some water, and opened the door.

Less than 100 feet away, over where the deer occasionally bed down, a cougar sprang off into the woods. A Petey-sized (he’s 67-lbs now) cougar. I am 99% sure of it. I’m leaving a 1% chance it wasn’t a cougar because I have no photos or other evidence, but I know what bobcats look like and I know what coyotes look like, and it was not those. And it certainly wasn’t a deer. It might have been a Bigfoot, though.

Seriously, it was a cougar. In my yard. The funny thing is that cougars are far more elusive than morels, and I’ve looked for years to find one of those on our property. I should have looked for a big mountain lion, because here’s the ironic thing: when we went over to see if it had left any tracks, I found a morel.

It’s on the right. I included the left shot of some poisonous lookalikes for fun.

Not all our days have held such excitement. We’re still mostly reveling in not dressing in layers and in all the green. And I’ve been enjoying the simple act of capturing a sunset that happens well into the evening. It’s enough, and I’m happy with it 🙂

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Petey the Pink-Faced Pup

Long-time readers will know that Heather (me) and Tony (husband) have two 13-year old Bengal cats. These cats have lived with us since before they were fully weaned; we bottle-fed them the first week or so we had them. And they have traveled with us from Miami, FL, to Lexington, KY, on to Ellijay, GA, and now to Rapid City, MI. They have been our babies. They are our babies. We’ve kind of always wanted a dog (we’ve been called puppy-crazy), but didn’t want to ruin the relationship we had with our Bengals.

But, as we both work from home, these two have become increasingly dependent upon us, and increasingly agitated any time either of us leaves the couch. And if you read this blog at all, you know we leave the couch often. In short, they’ve been ruining the relationship for us. It seems harsh, but it’s the truth. Basically, if there wasn’t a cat perched on each of us, one or more of them was howling loudly and inconsolably. And so we decided that getting a dog might actually be a good thing; it would shake things up at the very least.

Yesterday morning we left home in good spirits, ready to meet some dogs. Based on photos and descriptions online, we had an animal shelter and a foster organization on the agenda. Our only requirements were that the dog be young, medium-sized, and have good energy. We weren’t in any kind of hurry, and didn’t think we’d be coming home with anything but discussion topics.

Meet Petey:
First night home
He’s a pit-mix who wiggled his way into our laps and then hearts. He was happy to see us, but not overly excited. And after the shelter worker dragged him (he decidedly planted his feet in avoidance) into the cat room, he calmly looked around and decided he’d rather hang with us than even consider sniffing the cats.

At home, he settled right into his new bed, and is happy with his chew toys. He’s kind of glued to our sides, but he doesn’t beg for our food. He likes walks, and does pretty well on a leash. He’s not great at fetch, but he does like to chew a stick. He still doesn’t really care about the cats, and I’m happy to report, that as of tonight, our cats are learning not to care about him, too. I think a peaceful coexistence isn’t too far off.