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Open Your Eyes To Nature's Beauty
July 05, 2010
(Sign in Tahquammmenon Falls State Park).
We had some outstanding mid-September weather early last week, however the thermometer really shot up by week's end.
It seems that many of you are celebrating the 4th on the 5th this year.
I understand this can happen because of the holiday falling on Sunday.
Now instead of celebrating on the 3rd, many have the 5th off, and a 3 day weekend.
Still some enjoy a four day weekend.
Such is life.
I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July and I hope all of our Canadian friends had an enjoyable Canada day as well.
What a blessed first half of 2010.
It is hard to imagine that the year is more than half over already.
So here we are in the first part of July.
Here in Michigan, we have had a week to dry out some.
I think I was mowing the lawn every other day there for a while.
The first of the month also means it is time to give all of your feeders and water sources a good cleaning and sanitizing.
For new readers, I use the first of the month because it is an easy reminder for this little chore, and it is an easy habit to get into.
In busy times and warm weather, sanitizing is may be required more often.
If you don't have the time, a good spray with rubbing alcohol will do the trick.
Sanitize and dries quick.
Be sure to keep your hummer feeders cleaned and fresh every 2 to 3 days in the summer heat.
You probably can squeeze an extra day in there if your feeders are in the shade.
Bird activity in my yard is as strong as ever, which means continue to go through a goodly amount of bird food and I also enjoy birds feasting on insects, fruits, worms and nectar.
Creating the right habitat will always bring in the birds and other wildlife.
This past Thursday was an almost perfect day weather wise and we took advantage of it by taking our grand kids to the zoo.
A good day was had by all.
Because of the holiday weekend and many readers are on vacation, this is a light week.
So, I am going to share with you a bit of my short trip Up North from a couple of weeks ago.
All of the pictures are from our little trip to Michigan's upper peninsula.
It is no secret that I enjoy the North Country and I wish to thank the state of Ohio and the Federal government for making the upper peninsula part of Michigan.
(You may want to Google the 'Toledo War' for more information).
I never tire of seeing the five mile expanse of the Mackinaw bridge and driving across her.
Though our time Up North was short, there is never a shortage of thing to see and do and that includes nature.
Our motel was right on Lake Huron in the small town of St. Ignace.
The evening was cool and cloudy, but a Big Lake always has something to offer.
From our room we could see your typical batch of seagulls and some Mallard ducks and ducklings.
One mama duck had a single duckling less than a week old.
A muskrat swam near some reeds and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser meandered by.
There were a couple pair of Mute swans that graced us with their regal beauty and one pair was loaded with babies.
I have never seen a pair of swans with eight cygnets, yet this pair was happy to show them off.
The following morning, 'Oswald's Bear Ranch' was first on our agenda.
The Oswald's do a fantastic job.
The bear ranch is the largest Bleack bear ranch in the country and takes in Black bears from all over.
Cubs can be from rescue, bears that people bought and can no longer handle, or the loss of a mother.
This years 2 cubs are from the state of Pennsylvania that were born in January and acquired in March or April.
Michigan law doesn't allow for selling or breeding of Black bear and because the bears lose all fear of people, they grow old and die on the massive ranch.
Thousands of acres are provided with natural bear habitat, including water sources.
Bear are kept in separate area to prevent breeding and mauling.
For a $5 fee you can have your picture taken while feeding one of the cubs and that was worth it to us.
The passion for these magnificent creatures shows in every way.
This family owned and run ranch is worth the trip and the Oswald's are there to answer any of your bear related questions.
Okay, if you're only 20 miles away from the Tahquamenon Falls, you might as well take the short trek from the Bear Ranch.
We were hoping that with all the rain, the falls would be running and indeed they were
It isn't often a person gets to see this amount of water this time of year.
The river's distinctive amber color is from the tannin of the cedar swamps and the trees that line the river banks.
Totally harmless to the water and wildlife, the tannin offers a root beer look to many of the rivers in the UP.
Now I get to have some fun.
While Karen and Yolanda visit the gift shops, I get to explore.
I lose myself and usually lose track of time when I am in the wild with the sights and sounds that God has provided.
The songs of so many birds and several that I am not familiar with.
Once in a while you may catch a glimpse of a doe and her fawns.
However, I am enamored of the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
While the beauty and sound of moving water will captivate most people, it is what grows around the rivers and creeks that really catch my eye.
You have trees and roots that twist and contort as they reach for life giving sunlight.
Emerald green moss that thrives in the moist conditions.
You may find a woodpecker hole that is now the home of a spider.
Nothing goes to waste in nature.Yes, life is all around and beauty abounds.
One only has to open their eyes.
I even got a kick out of watching these slugs eight feet up a tree enjoying a meal of lichen.
Even in a thick forest you can find these slime balls.
Lichen intrigues me.
A symbiotic relationship between to separate life forms come together and create some wonderful looking life forms.
This is a truncated version of a refresher course for some and possibly new all together for others.
A symbiotic relationship between to life forms is something where both benefit.
Take pollinators and flowers for example, both benefit from the pollinator/pollinated relationship.
To create lichen, you have a species of fungus and a species of algae that get together and create lichen.
In simple terms, the algae provides greens for the fungus and the fungus provides moisture for the algae.
They live in harmony to create a harmless lichen.
A marriage made in heaven so to speak.
There are hundreds of different forms of lichen and it can grow anywhere.
You will find it in the desert, on rocks, growing on sidewalks and buildings as well as just about any tree (totally harmless).
As you can see by these images, lichen can offer some unique growth and shapes.
You can see three different kinds growing in this picture alone. Yes, 'Nature's' grandness is always captivating, but it is the little things that I am always on the lookout for.
I'm sure you too have many things around you that you can discover.
I can't stop there.
Off to Sault St. Marie and the Soo Locks.
Not the biggest, but the busiest locks in the world.
Again, the girls hit the tourist trap stores and I hang around the big boys toy (the locks.)
The locks run between Lakes Superior and Heron providing a way for ocean going vessels as well as other ships.
Some reaching 1,000 foot in length.
Across the Saint Mary's river is Sault St. Marie Canada and the International Bridge crossing the twin cities is just down the way a spell.
The image to your right, shows an outgoing ship Superior to Heron and the International Bridge above and in the background.
Hey, a person has to enjoy some man made stuff too.
All through the day, I can't help but wonder how the American Indians made a living as the hunted, farmed, fished and traversed the waters.
Back in St. Ignace, we took a bit of a nature drive and stopping at a roadside preserve near Hessel, I get to enjoy a bit of wetlands and again the sounds of several birds that are new to me.
This image is a poor one, but this little boy wouldn't stay still long enough to snap a good picture.
Here he is, A lifer for me.
A 'Common Yellowthroat Warbler.'
This particular species enjoys the thick wetland marsh type of habitat and I was tickled pink by my new sighting.
There you have it.
My purpose for writing this is to hopefully get you to open your eyes to your surroundings just a bit more.
As a Naturalist, it is my nature to be curious and observe my surroundings.
To some degree, there is a natural training for me.
I realize some of you can't travel and indeed it may be difficult to leave your home.
Still there is beauty right out your window and the more you look, the more you will discover.
Whether it be the desert southwest, the grandeur of the Canadian wilderness, the Great Plains, Deep South, Pacific Northwest, the Mountains, the Eastern regions or even the Great Lakes region and else where.
Get out there.
Open your eyes, your ears and even your nose to God's wonders.
His wonders are every where.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
However, before I go, here is your positive thought for he week.
Many people believe that support is something that you give to someone you feel sorry for or that it means propping up someone who would fail unless you were there to give him a boost. But that's not the way I see it. Support is the boost you can give someone who can help himself but who needs a partner to open a window or push aside a roadblock.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's
No one is a rock or an Island.
Not a single person can do it all them self.
All of us need help and need at least one person from time to time.
And what is so wonderful about being human is that we learn to pass it in.
We learn that help begets help and passes on to another and so it goes.
We all need a helping hand or a bit of support once in a while.
After all, we are taught to help others and we are thankful when another persons stops to help us.
I like that.
All around you.
Show support with a smile.
Sometimes a smile is support enough.
Now go out there and share a smile.
Smiles never hurt a soul.
Until next time.
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
"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,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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