Pebble

 

Our travels took us to Sault Ste. Marie, where we found ourselves on another misty water experience: sailing through the Soo Locks.  In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan has a way of changing the spelling of a place. Mackinac; Mackinaw. Sault; Soo.

Anyway, we rode the locks, and it was fascinating. Mostly, because Jeff was fascinating. his pride in Michigan was deep. True, he’d lived here all his life, but I’ve been here 18 years and I don’t know the detailed history of towns, cities, parks, farms. He did, and he was happy to share that.

Jeff would fill in little parts that weren’t mentioned over tour radios. Folks who overheard would end up gravitating towards him, asking questions and being questioned in return. By the time we were done with whatever it was we were doing, we’d know a lot about a person. Where they were from, where they were going, what they did for a living, who their favorite NASCAR driver was.

At Tahquamenon Falls, Jeff explained the water’s amber hue, the impact of logging and impressively mentioned Longfellow. On the sunniest day of our journey, we stood overlooking the falls having unintentionally timed this stop a breath past peak fall color. As wonderfully as the cheap camera pictures came out, they don’t do it justice. I was posing at the rail of a scenic pier when a stranger offered to take our picture together. As strange as it seems, this might be the only picture of Jeff and I together on our honeymoon. I haven’t come across any others, yet.

Our second to last stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes. We thought about renting a Jeep to drive ourselves around the dunes, but decided a half-hour of driving time wasn’t that exciting. Instead, we opted for the guided tandem open-car tour. We learned about the environmental and erosion problems facing the area. Coming down from a huge mound of hilly sand, the tour glided to rest beside the lapping shore of Lake Michigan.

I was surprised by the number of tourists in our group who quickly shed their shoes in order to wade in. I didn’t. I did, however, dip my fingers into the chilly water, bringing up a small stone memento. Later, Jeff chided me for that, siting erosion. “It’s just one little pebble,” I argued. ‘Yes,” he said matter-of-factly, “but, if everyone who ever went there took a rock from the beach, that’d be millions of missing rocks!”

Then he launched another Jeff-ism:

“Nothing is ever a just pebble.”

 

Quote for the Week:

2016-11-29-nothing-is-ever-just-a-pebble-jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Lock Engineering: animation

Animated Falls:  Tahquamenon

Bonus Photos:

2016-11-29-nothing-is-ever-just-a-pebble-tahquamenon-falls-jakorte

 

On The Island

The island wasn’t crowded, either, which made sense seeing as we had taken a near empty ferry.

No lines anywhere, meant we cruised through more childhood forbidden purchases:

A small bit of fudge – Jeff wasn’t fond of sweets

Our first Mr. and Mrs. Christmas ornament was a two-some of Teddy Bears popping out of a chimney. We waited while it was customized with our names and the year, 2001.

At a Native American gallery shop, we had a hard time deciding which of two items would go home with us. Rather than choose between 2 favorites, as kids are often required, we took both; a beautiful feathered peace pipe for our marriage, and a decorative hatchet to remind us to bury it, when needed. Sadly, the peace pipe did not survive the later addition of a Jack Russell puppy to our lives. The hatchet has hung everywhere we’ve lived together, and everywhere I’ve been alone after being together.

As we wandered by an old-fashioned photo station, the kind where you could dress up old-time, we smiled widely at each other. Without having uttered a single word, Jeff held the door open for me. The photographer chose wedding appropriate garb including a bridal bouquet, and suggested the Marriage Certificate mat for our photo. We asked our real wedding certificate signers for repeats, then framed and hung our treasure; proof of having conquered another former family vacation forbidden.

Our last-open-weekend-of-the-season dollars, gave us a deal on almost everything.

The two exceptions were the cost of breakfast. Jeff’s eyes opened wide in astonishment as he told me the extra egg he had ordered cost $2.00. “For an egg!” he exclaimed, quickly followed by reasoning. “Of course, I bet it probably cost a lot to get that egg out here…”.

The other exception was the carriage barker who called out a $30.00 dollar per person rate, which we politely declined. When cajoled and asked why, Jeff responded honestly, that seemed like a lot of money. The price was brought down to $15.00 per person, to which we nodded in agreement.

After Jeff handed over $30.00 cash, it was determined there had been a miscommunication. Not $15 per person, but $50 for carriage ride. Sure, it was only $20 more, but the man’s attitude was accusatory. Mentioning that he needed to make money, he said he could do it for $30, but we’d only get half the ride. We decided to forgo the experience. It was getting late, anyway, so we headed to the dock.

We never made it up to The Grand Hotel, but we did spend the full 35 minutes waiting for the ferry trying to decide if we should purchase a gorgeous era-true refurbished aqua bicycle built for two for just $110.00. The main problem was trying to figure a way to get it home. The Neon wasn’t going to be accommodating. We’d need a bike rack, but we’d have to drive somewhere for that, which wouldn’t work for the obvious reason that we’d have to take the bike with us, and … it wouldn’t fit in the Neon.

After going in circles, we logically left it there. To be honest, I cannot imagine us ever riding it. Picturing what that would look like, makes me giggle now. I still wish I’d taken a picture of it.

Quote for the Week:

2016-11-22-all-the-dreams-we-ever-had-carried-us-along-jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Link:

Daisy Bell: Bicycle Built for Two

Bonus Photo:

2016-11-22-honeymoon-old-time-photo-bonus-jakorte

Almost All

Almost all the weather was damp and almost all of our pictures were misty.

We drove through the Houghton Lake cabins of Jeff’s happy childhood vacations, stopped in a local souvenir shop where we bought a greeting card with a beautiful dream catcher which would months later become Jeff’s first and only tattoo. A 5 inch round over his heart with a turquoise shell, 3 feathers, intricate weave patterns and shadowing, it was impressive.

We visited Hartwick Pines near Grayling, and led ourselves on a self-guided tour. I tried to take a picture of the beautiful leave-covered ground beneath one massive tree, but it turned out murky. Jeff took one of me next to the huge red wheels of a logging wagon. If you look closely, you can see I am holding an almost all point-perfect yellow maple leaf.

We stopped to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox at Castle Rock, but the attraction was closed and it was raining anyway. Jeff was disappointed because he had wanted to go into the souvenir shop that was forbidden as a kid. I’m thinking now of all the places we went in my childhood and how kitsch shops were totally off limits. I rolled down my window, clicked a photo to document that we had been there, and then we moved on.

My first Mackinac Bridge crossing occurred in the rain. As a passenger, I should say, because Jeff was concerned about the weather.  On the approach, I leaned out the window to grab a few shots while being pelted with windy drops. I can see myself in the side mirror wearing one of my favorite sweaters ever. It’s one we picked up at Birch Run.

I’m not sure what that yellow ticket looking thing is under the wiper on the passenger side. Maybe a parking pass? Could be this picture was taken on the way back over the bridge?  Did I mention this trip was almost all rainy? In any case, we made it over.

The ferry trip journey was very uncrowded, and if we’d thought about it, predictably chilly. We huddled together to stay warm, held hands and laughed our way through the inclement weather.

That’s just how it was with us.

Almost all, we held hands and just enjoyed the ride.

Quote for the Week:

2016-11-15-almost-all-perfect-trip-jakorte

Bonus Pictures:

2016-11-15-almost-all-bonus-pictures-2-jakorte

 

 

2016-11-15-almost-all-bonus-pictures-1-jakorte

Grafted (3 Chicks with Sticks)

We double tooled and took a short trek to Chapel Street.

The explanation and demonstration made sense. Using the tools on-hand made sense.

I like sense. I like adaptation, too.

Teams spread down the sidewalks searching for X marks and O marks, and root-bagged trees that weren’t rejectedly rolled into the street.

There we were; three chicks with sticks staring at an off-center X over a shallow-welled median with a spade and a square, a spade and a rake, a spade and a pick-ax, a tree and a plan.

Fresh from a mini tutorial, feeling feisty, we set about it.

We measured and consulted, measured some more, got a rhythm going.

After a while, there two piles of dirt, a pile of skimmed grass, and a hole.

The hole wasn’t exactly round. We fixed that.

The hole was a little too deep. We fixed that.

The ball was a little too heavy for advised two rollers, so we used three to get it going and in.

We eyeball straightened our charge (assumed a tulip tree by the botanical tag “tulipifera”) from three directions.

Lacking a knife to break the binds, we waited, short-shoveling handfuls of soft soil in and around to perfect stance while assuring our homeowner we were enjoying ourselves, and it wasn’t as hard as it seemed.

Root bag ripped, unrecyclables corralled, wires de-bent, we ran into a problem. Everything was fine, until exposure. Then, suddenly, it might be all wrong, or it might still be right.

Lopsided, rooted more heavily on one side than the other, not knowing which three-fingers-below measure was true.

There were two knuckles; one previously hidden in burlap garb, angled slight degrees from the one we had been focused on.

Stem straight, angled roots uneven in a way that wouldn’t promote stability. Rocking the sapling in favor of rooting, the stem was oddly askew.

That’s when we learned something new. The tree and the root were established together post graft. Combining the best of both, strong roots, tall tree, for immediate success and future longevity.

Consultants called. Though our true root was a slight inch higher than preferred, no retraction was required. Adaptation meant lightly packed stability soil up a little higher, and cautiously tamping air-pocket caverns where water could possibly pool and encourage rot.

We raised our berm a little higher, for better protection, and watered away from the roots. When we were finished, it passed muster, earning a blue sleeve of advertorial protection.

And that was it; about three hours later, including stand-up breakfast pastries and coffee, finding the right Zone assignment, name tags, gift bags, tool toting, street scouring, instruction, demonstration and the command to go to it. We’d done what we’d set out to do, added our imprint as one group of three in a group of One Brick Volunteers planting one tree among 120 goaled.

My best guess is that it took nearly 200 people from many different community groups, instructors teaching, volunteers planting, and forestry-minded reviewing to reach that goal.

While that might seem impressive, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 500,000 trees lost during a three decade Dutch Elm blight from 1950-1980.

Since 1989, The Greening of Detroit has orchestrated placement and replacement of 85,000 trees. Mathematically, that’s still a significant environmental shortage.

There are still at least dozen upcoming The Greening of Detroit events, and there’s room for you, too.

It all adds up. Make a difference in Detroit.

Quote for the Week:

It doesn’t have to be one or the other  04 14 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links: 

The Greening of Detroit: http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/get-involved/volunteer/

Urban Forests: https://www.americanforests.org/conservation-programs/urban-forests/

Top 22 benefits of trees: https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

On Twitter:

#OneBrickDetroit    @GreeningDetroit    #SocialForestry

Staying

Backward, usually, I am.

It’s pretty much always been that way; out of prescribed order, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

I was denied a promotion to a job I was already covering at JC Penney. I was informed there was a new rule just coming into effect requiring a college education for any management position, including assistants.

For a long time, I’ve wondered if Mr. Doucet was in cahoots with my father on this. He didn’t seem all that surprised when I returned from my requested interview complaining, and very disappointed. My re-matriculation to the University of Massachusetts resulted in a college degree, and a position at B. Altman & Co. in New York City. When I announced my acceptance of the management-level job offered, my father nodded and said, “Aren’t you glad you went back to school? I owe Mr. Doucet a debt of gratitude,”

I’ve stumbled across confirmation in the form of an interesting article: “Staying is Settling: Why You Need To Move At Least 5 Times In Your Life.”

I’ve always believed staying is settling. I’ve moved more than that just in my present state. Michigan: 8

Who knew my dream-chasing instability would translate so nicely into achievement?

With that in mind, I direct this note to all; everyone from everywhere I’ve ever landed or launched:

If you thought I was going, I’m not.

If you thought I was coming back, I’m not.

I bought a condo.

I’m staying.

 

Quote for the Week:

dream chasing instability fondest achievements

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Move 5 Times: http://elitedaily.com/life/staying-settling-need-move-5-times-life/751829/

Quotes About Settling: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/settling

When Not To Follow Advice: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-worst-career-advice-do-what-you-love/