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Summer Isn't Over Just Yet.
September 03, 2013

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend.

there is still some summer left, get out and enjoy it.

Another part of our trip from a week or so ago, follows.

(Kalkaska, MI. world famous shoetree.)

Just north of the small city of Kalkaska, on the west side of U.S. 131 is this Great Shoetree.

The shoes are expanding to other trees.

The picture does no justice.

What is so cool. a few years back, the tree was trimmed, the workers made sure the shoes were hung and replaced.

I finally stopped to take a few pictures.


Along the southeast shores of Lake Superior, Between Whitefish Point, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Sits the 'Point Iroquois Lighthouse' and the Chippewa Indian Community (reservation) of 'Bay Mills'.

(Point Iroquois Light, also pictured last week.)

Just to the west is Point Iroquois where the lighthouse sits silent as a museum.

'Mission Hill Cemetery' sits atop on overlook several hundred feet above.

From an overlook, you can see Ontario, Canada, Lake Superior, and the mouth of the Saint Mary's river.

Below the overlook sits 'Spectacle Lake'.

With some imagination, it is shaped like a pair of specs.

From the overlook, you can see the wild rice growing in the shallows.

We also watched a pair of bald eagles fly over the lake and distant woodland (not a photo opportunity).

(Self Explanatory)

A few years ago, I spoke with a Tribal Elder.

He told me how the rice was being replanted and some of the native traditions involved with the harvest.

I had to ask a questions.

Do american Indians prefer to be called 'Indian', or 'Native American'.

I was told that the older folks like to be known as American Indians, while the younger generations prefer to be called as 'Native American'.

They also prefer to be called a Nation, not a Tribe.

From the overlook, sits the cemetery.

(I'm sharing a few pictures of the cemetery.)

Some grave sites date back to the mid 1800's

Others are current.

While others are simple left with a white brick that says "Unkown".

Visiting the cemetery is an education in itself.

Take the winding road back down, drive a short distance and a fenced in Cemetery, filled with 'Spirit Houses'

It was believed that the hole at one end allows for the person's spirit to come and go.

Other spirit houses I have seen tell a different story.

The holes are facing the Great Lake, which allows for the spirit to fly free over the Great Waters.

History and sights to see are often, where you choose to look.

We manage to make it to this part of Michigan every 3-4 years.

(At the bottom of this letter is a picture of the Spirit houses and a Legend of the Pine Tree.)

Summer isn't over, Enjoy.

(Part of Spectacle Lake, the horizon is Canada and Lake Superior.)

It's September.

Where did the time go?

Labor day weekend brought the unofficial, or meteorological end to summer, but there is still close to three weeks of official summer left, so get out and enjoy it.

Hopefully that means some beach time for Karen and me.

September can be our favorite time, as beaches can be almost deserted, and water temperatures on Lake Michigan are often warm enough for swimming.

I'm not a big fan of elbow to elbow at any beach and September can offer some prime sun and water time.

It used to be that I dreaded September and the coming of Autumn.

I felt the only good thing about fall was football season.

After all, gardens are winding down, days are growing shorter.

plants die back, trees have a brief show of color.

Then a bleak landscape.

I would start to look forward to spring by September 1.

Yes, September brings shorter and shorter days.

I can complain all I want, but it never changes :-(

Say, remember to clean your feeders and water sources.

If you feed birds only in the winter, you may consider getting your feeding stations ready.

Birds pick out territories, or feeding grounds as early as October.

If you want your fare share of birds, let them see your stations in advance.

For us that feed year round, make sure your offerings are what your feathered friends desire.

Food rich in protein and fat.

(Wild rice Growing.)

I've mellowed with time and I'm learning to appreciate all that the 'four seasons' have to offer.

There is a lot to do in the yard and gardens.

Annuals are hitting their peak this month and late summer perennials are putting on a grand show.

When you step outside, you can feel the difference in the air?

Even on a 85 to 90 degree day, I can feel the sun beating on me in a different way.

It is lower in the sky.

Vegetable gardens require harvesting and some minor maintenance.

You can hear the insects of the season and certain smells that the season offers.

Bees and wasps are busy and some are more aggressive as they have a larger nest to feed.

Not to worry, when the cool weather comes, many wasps and most species of bees die off.

Be patient if you can, they are still working the flowers.

Especially the "Humble Bumble."

Now the Bumble bee is so busy and passive, you can actually pet them sometimes, especially as the days grow cooler.

They give off warning signs if they are getting agitated, like lifting a back leg.

Bumbles only sting when threatened or the nest is threatened.

I've worked in gardens and plants with bumbles all around and have yet to have one of these girls get aggressive with me.

(Grave site on hill.)

Perennials need to harden off and for annuals, the days are now numbered.

Let them go to seed to offer food for birds.

September also brings scores of young American goldfinches to my sunflowers and feeders.

I do enjoy the constant commotion the finches provide.

Sunflowers are nice this year (the ones the Groundhogs didn't eat).

September in Michigan brings fields of Goldenrod and Asters to bloom.

The contrasting colors make a beautiful sight in nature and in your gardens

Late native bloomers that offer food for butterflies and later on seeds for birds.

Isn't it wonderful how "Our Creator" set everything up in perfect harmony?

Plus, we get to enjoy it all.

Can you ask for more?

I still look forward to spring, but I plan ahead and you should too.

You want to look at successes and failures.

This is a good time of year to start making plans for what to plant next year or what to move later this fall.

Do you want to re-arrange some gardens?

Do you want to add to your wildlife habitats?

Now is the time to cruise your yard and start planning for for next year.

Break out a map or drawing of your habitats and start scribbling away.

Okay, even if you live in the southern regions, you can still make plans, you simply enjoy what you have longer then I do.

(Grave site 2)

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only hummer we have in the eastern portion of North America and here in my neck of the world they are typically gone in late September.

Now is when I pump my nectar water up from 4 parts to 1 to 3 parts water to 1 part sugar (many flowers offer 33% and up to 50% nectar).

It doesn't hurt the birds, indeed it helps them to bulk up for the long trip South.

Until Rubies and some other species hit the trail, they are still protecting their territory and attempt to keep other hummers from invading their food sources.

Not until migration begins do they tolerate each other at feeders and flower beds.

Now remember, feeders really aid nature's offerings when they are lacking.

Keep your feeders clean and filled for at least two weeks from your last sighting.

Sometimes, juveniles are slow to understand the signals to migrate (kids).

By doing this, you are helping the hummers.

Why do birds migrate so early, when there is plenty of warmth and flowers left for them?

It's all has to do with length of day.

Click here for more explanations on Migration South.

(Grave marker 3.)

As you have read, things are different heading South so they take their time.

North bound is dictated on hormones and often birds are caught in some bad weather conditions yet feel the need to move on.

Yup, those hormones can even get birds in a lot of trouble :-)

Texas is proving to be "THE HOT SPOT" to watch hummingbirds by the hundreds and several different species at one time as they stoke up for the remainder of the trip South.

Because of habitat destruction and some global warming, many hummers remain in Texas and other deep South locations.

As September begins (it will be over way to soon), enjoy the hummingbirds and other gifts of nature.

It will pass us by for another year before you know it.

It is the beginning of the month, that means it is time to clean all your feeders.

Give them a good cleaning and sanitize them too.

Clean out all your birdbaths and keep filled with fresh water.

When the hummers are around, you may offer a mister or run a sprinkler for them to bathe and drink from.

Take notes of what you see and when your last hummer sighting was.

(Simple UNKNOWN markers are found throughout the cemetery.)

Observe how many other birds are congregating.

Enjoy the butterflies and everything that "Nature" has blessed us with.

September isn't the beginning of the end as I once thought, it offers something new and exciting for all of us.

September can be a wonderful month for you too.

It is your choosing to understand this and get outside and take advantage of this special time of year.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

Too many people over value what they are not and under value what they are.

Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) American Publisher

Think about that for a moment.

Every person has a God given talent or special gift that is unique only to you.

You are a special and unique person.

God sees what He created, not what others may see in you.

(Some verses are worth repeating.)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Matthew 6:25-29

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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