Starry, starry night

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The weather has been amazing for the past week or so. Perfect temperatures in the 70’s or low 80’s, with clear skies at night. Steve headed out to the end of the dock to capture the night skies. The Big Dipper was clear, even though the glow of sunset hadn’t yet faded.

From the end of our Long Lake dock’s vantage point in the Milky Way, here’s our galaxy. It’s framed at the earth-end by the trees of our bay.

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The night skies give a different sense of “up north,” with an emphasis on the “up” part. Humbling.

Long Lake Carving

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How cool is this! This is a topographic carving of Hillman’s Long Lake. Tom ordered it special for us from Backwoods Carving. Every depth on the carving is the equivalent of 10 feet for real.So the deepest places are 90 feet, just north of Belly Button Island.

The carving even includes the little island in the south part of the lake.

Compare from the Michigan Fishweb site:

mapWe’ve had a little printout of the fishweb site map framed and hanging at the lake for nearly ten years now. We show it to people, complete with a little house drawn on the map so visitors will know where we are on the lake before they head out to kayak.

The wooden version has now replaced our little paper map. Beautiful! (Our 294 acre lake and now our carving of it.)

Fishing on Long Lake

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Jeff is one very serious fisherman. Here he is on Long Lake, near his favorite pike spot. Last October, Jeff caught a 38 inch pike near here. A few days ago, Jeff caught a 33 inch pike at the same spot.

Shelly, Jeff (and Julie’s) Great Dane, is also one very serious fisherdog. This is no “I bet when you go fishin’ you keep on a wishin’ the fish don’t bite at ‘yur line” look. Shelly is pure concentration and loving every minute out on the water.

Here’s how the American Kennel Club describes Shelly’s breed:

The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive.

Shelly is a Great Dane with a great loud bark. We tried to capture that bark for you, and as soon as Steve put the microphone near Shelly she went silent. This dignified dog does not bark for show.

What a great day to be fishing!

Ice out? Not yet!

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This is Hillman’s Long Lake on the afternoon of April 19, 2014. Nothing you’re looking at is water (though there is about 10 feet of water rimming the lake, at least on the east side). The ice is thin enough that you can see the color changes in the water underneath. And the drop-offs are clearly visible, at least in the beautiful sunshine of this Saturday before Easter.

Last year on this date, we’d been in kayaks for a few weeks already!

The finches are turning in their drab feathers for their nifty yellow ones. The squirrels are running around the lawn in pairs. Deer are browsing in the yard. They seem to be munching on leftovers from the fall acorn crop. A mother fox ran across County Road 459 just beyond Lake Road. She had a kit in her mouth and headed into a culvert pipe. We watch a huge kettle of about 20 turkey vultures stirring things up above Horseshoe Lake. An adolescent bald eagle, distinctive despite the lack of adult plumage, cruised along the west shore headed toward the Narrows. He circled back and landed on the ice, hopping about for a bit in that eagle-typical wide stance.

So, finally, Spring is here–just a month or so late.

Inspiration

IMG_0164We need this reminder, since it’s been minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit at the lake this past week. These lovelies are now bundled up in their winter covers, tucked inside the “L” of the dock, with a foot of snow on them.

Michigan is a four-season wonder and that is such a good thing. But winters can be very tough. I hope the black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, finches and woodpeckers of all sort have stashed enough food and are finding supplement at our winter feeders. Because they, like ourselves and unlike our state bird (the robin), don’t flee from the Michigan winters.