We miss Bailey!

We are up to our eyeballs in Canada Goose goslings. Until this spring, our neighbor Bailey the Brave found great sport in seeing to it that the little green slimy tootsie roll production teams didn’t hang out on our property. But she’s not living next door anymore. We really miss our personal Golden Retriever goose guard.

You see how these adults are laying low in the water…kind of slinking don’t ‘ya think? I’d spent chunks of the afternoon chasing them away from our shoreline. Nothing too mean. A few loud shouts of “Scram!” A few hand claps. A few fast runs to the water’s edge wildly waving my arms at them. All measures are only temporarily successful. They bypassed our grass on this swipe through the bay, though.

This weekend I scooped up pounds of poop–apparently a week’s production. I tired myself out picking up their droppings.  So, I sat in a comfy recliner and took a nap. When I woke, they were working their way through Bailey’s old stomping grounds. While I’d slept, they’d enjoyed our (temporarily) poop-free lawn. The evidence of that was apparent in several sections of lawn. Sigh.

Sea Smoke Scarf

This is a new scarf pattern by Knitwise Design of Lubec, Maine. Linda’s Sea Smoke Scarf is inspired by the clouds of vapor that form over the ocean on especially cold days. Sea smoke, sometimes called arctic steam fog, forms when very cold air moves over warmer water. Here in Michigan the same conditions produce lake effect snow. But, enough about weather. It’s been in the high 80’s here in the past few days so I’m doing my usual “wishful knitting.” That’s where I try to cool off by knitting wintry stuff that can’t be worn for months and months.

The pattern for Sea Smoke is available here or directly on Ravelry, here.

The pattern begins at the interesting drop stitch lace section and continues in a knit 1, purl 1 rib. You knit two identical halves and then graft the sections together. The special grafting instruction are clearly presented. Although the pattern is basically hot off the presses, there are no errors. Ah….that’s worth a repeat. No errors. It’s skinny (about 3.5 inches) and long (73 inches) and could be high fashion. But wrapped round and round the neck, as I will likely wear it, it will “just” be a warm scarf with a touch of glam.

Mine is knit in Berroco Flicker, an alpaca worsted weight, with a thread of glitter woven through. This is the first time I’ve knit with yarn that sparkles. I expected it would be scratchy, but it’s actually super soft. This is the “Benno” colorway (3317).

Forty Mile Point Lighthouse

This is Forty Mile Point Lighthouse. It’s forty miles southeast of Old Mackinaw Point and forty miles northwest of Thunder Bay. So, an appropriately named lighthouse. It was completed in 1896 and has guided Lake Huron sailors since April of 1897. The tower is still an operational beacon. It’s lit by a 4th order fresnel lens set at three second intervals. The lens was built by Henry LePaute in 1872.

The lighthouse has recently been restored inside and out. Many of the rooms are furnished as if their original occupants had just run down to the water’s edge to check their fishing lines. Recently, the pilot house of the 1912 Steamer Calcite was relocated to the grounds. 

When you visit, be sure to walk down to the beach. One hundred and fifty feet of the shipwrecked Steamer Joseph S. Fay is visible. It was loaded with iron ore when it broke up on a sandbar in 1905. The lighthouse keeper’s log for October 20, 1905 reads: “At 8:30 p.m. last night the steamer, J. S. Fay, came ashore here in a sinking condition. She soon broke up. Most of the crew came ashore on the pilot house. Three men swam ashore, the mate was drowned.” The entry for December 4, 1905 reads: “The assistant found a dead man on the beach about 1 mile up. We think it is the mate of the Fay.” Many sailors lost their lives in Lake Huron’s violent storms. Fall could be especially treacherous.

One great way to find your way to the lighthouse is to follow the bike path out from Rogers City. If you want to shorten the route a bit, park at Seagull Point. You’ll have a great view of Lake Huron and won’t miss a bit of the most scenic sections of the path. The path ends at the lighthouse. Or use these GPS settings to guide you to the entrance: N 45 29.024; W 083 59.892.

Read more about the lighthouse here. As you enter the grounds, tune your radio to 107.3 FM to hear a bit about the history of the site.

Wisdom scarf

This is another scarf knitted in the Jared Flood way, in different colorways of yarn with slow color changes. The free pattern is here. Flood’s pattern calls for three colorways, in four skeins, of Noro Silk Garden. Knitted up that way, the scarfs are stunning. My three Silk Garden and one Kuroyon Noro knits are in the slide show below.

But knitting in Wisdom Yarns Poems decreases the impact on the pocket book quite remarkably. And all without any sacrifice in the beauty of the finished object. I usually cast on 45 for the Noro versions. This time I cast on 39 and ended up with a similarly sized, but somewhat longer scarf. Wisdom is 100% wool, but it’s is spun in a way that almost looks as if it has some mohair in it because there’s a bit of a fuzzy halo to the yarn.

Here’s the scarf before it was one:


And now another glimpse of the “after:”

For a slide show of my versions of this pattern, click on the thumbnails.

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Public folk art on the sunrise side

US-23 from just south of Alpena to just north of Harrisville is a feast of public folk art. Dinosaur Gardens is so 1950’s that you’ll want to dust off your hula hoop and bring your poodle skirt out of its mothballs.

I confess to not having toured Dinosaur Gardens or even played putt-putt at its Raptor Retreat 18-hole mini golf course. So, being uninformed, I’m not sure what happens when a visitor climbs the ladder of this brontosaurus. Does a knock on the door gain admittance to the wonder of a bronti’s innards? Is it maybe the clever entrance to a slide down his tail?

I do think that the brontosaurus painter could have jazzed this specimen up a bit. Was he really this drab? If so, I suppose realism might be best. Probably my childhood was a tad too influenced by my favorite inflatable float toy, “Dino,” the big green Sinclair Oil Company mascot. Poor Dino. He blew away one day on Elk Lake and was never seen again. He’s probably shown up on Ebay by now.

Dinosaur Garden did more with green in this fellow, obviously pieced together at the shoulder. A masterpiece, with more of that  60’s comic book character look. He even has a spotlight that shines on him at night.

But it is the 20-foot Jesus with a bowling ball that really steals the show at Dinosaur Gardens. With both dinosaurs and God and bowling, you can hit an awful lot of fan bases. Since 1957, Jesus has graced the site. To me, it looks like he even got a recent fresh coat of paint.

Further on down US-23, a very muscular very hairy Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox stand guard among the tall red pines. Paul is still looking quite impressive, but Babe could definitely use a fresh coat of blue paint. Probably once Jesus’s baseplate got its paint there wasn’t enough left over for Babe.

Word is that Babe was a great help to Paul around the logging camp. Babe could pull anything with two ends and was really useful straightening out twisted logging roads. Paul would then pick up the extra miles of road, once the kinks were all pulled out, and use the leftovers in other places where he needed road. And Paul, we all know that Paul was so big it took five storks to deliver him to his parents.

The first Paul is near Ossineke. The next Paul, without his Babe, is in downtown Oscoda. The modern hardhat is an inspired touch.

The day we visited, even hard-hatted Paul was unable to keep US-23 open and traffic moving through Oscoda. The road was torn up, blocked off, and we had to detour all around the downtown business district.  But all businesses are open during construction (even Rent-A-Hubby if you need to rent one).

Further on down US-23, one woodcarver has an entire yard full of wares to choose from. There are lots of samples on display including this wonderful boreal dead fish collection.

But my personal favorite among his work is dinodog:

I can definitely see this guy on Antiques Road Show about 50 years from now. “You didn’t scrub the fungus off the base–that’s good, if you had it would have lost thousands of dollars in value.” “He has some cracking, but that just enhances his worth. It shows he spent lots of time outside.” I admire this carver’s sense of humor. He also carves lots of bears. I’m pretty sure that this one, on a residential lawn south of the carver’s shop, is the same artist’s work. But I’m fairly sure that the bunny ears are not original equipment.

The sunrise side tour of public folk art closes with this gem from a colorful gift shop in Harrisville. I call it Moose With Purple Antlers. Setting him off against that bright orange wall makes it basically perfect.

I love the sunrise side. No kidding. This place is so much more real and so much more fun and feels so much better than toney art galleries on Michigan’s sunset side.