Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn Haze

The less a person knows, the more certain he is that he is right. - E. von Arnim

In an attempt to capture what fall looks like up here before all the leaves drop, I took some photos. I love the autumn; I just would like the trees to retain their color longer. One good rain and pfft, the leaves are moldering on the ground. That's a good thing, of course; puts the good things back in the soil to be used in the future by new generations of plants and animals.

My property is a long rectangle bordering M-25 - Lakeshore Road on the west and Lake Huron on the east. If you can imagine the Thumb of Michigan's mitt, my land is about where the thumbnail would be.

There is a "U"-shaped driveway going from west to east through my property on the upper (northern) arm of the "U" to my house. There are four houses, one travel trailer, and a "Folly" on the bottom part of the "U" south of me and we all share the access road. The "Folly" was built on a bluff by another neighbor further south on Lakeshore Road on one arm  of his property which overlooks Lake Huron. His Folly is a cabin with a log stove, a loft, a few chairs and loads of books - an escape from the family. Many British estates have a Folly, neat idea actually, eh? That neighbor also has a valley and a river with a waterfall. He encourages all of us to use his land, and we do!

The photo below was taken from the south east corner of my land next to the bluff overlooking Lake Huron. It is looking north northwest to my Nordmark, my northern forest. This is the best land for growing stuff because the soil is richer there than anywhere else. It used to be a tangle of very old wild grape vines, dead and dying trees, dozens and dozens of old red twig dogwoods and viburnums. I've been 'playing' in there for more than a year now removing many old bottles and pieces of broken glass, rusty cans (yes, from the days when cans actually rusted!), animal bones, empty shotgun shells, etc. The divisions of my heirloom plants from my Royal Oak home have mostly been planted in this area. The famous  - "next year this should look really good" - often uttered by gardeners fits here. If you look closely, you can see my eastern fenced "front" yard, a windmill, and perhaps even the pond that John built.

Walking a few feet north from where I took the above photo and looking down from the top of the bluff to the shoreline, you can see the double decks where occasionally adult beverages (coffee and wine) have been known to be consumed! Ha! (Clicking on photos enlarges them.) The view from the decks is fantastic. You can see I've left the bluff natural. Many people plant grass. Which has to be mowed. And raked in the fall. Nope.

The water levels of the Great Lakes has risen a lot since I bought the property because 1. The Lakes froze solid last winter which reduced evaporation and 2. We had a very snowy winter. Last year I knew I had two "islands" but they were surrounded by dry land. In fact the shoreline was about a hundred yards (+/-) further out than it is this year. Now my islands are truly islands, the kind that would be OK to be marooned on!

The photo below was taken from about the same spot as the double decks and the twin islands photos and shows the blacktop road leading down to those decks and, further down still, to the beach. Alas, it has a rather steep slope which challenges older folks (like me).

This photo, below, was taken from the northeast corner of my rectangle looking south west to my house. The three neighbors north of me have an access road, which was probably built on a former gully, to provide access to their beach. That road runs just north of this part of Nordmark. Most of my spring bulbs were planted here mixed in with native vegetation. Remember? "Next year!" The piles of tree trunks and twigs are remnants of clearing the land. They will decompose and enrich the soil with time. I've never understood the compulsion to burn vegetation. If you let it decompose, your soil becomes richer and healthier. Those folks who burn the leaves in the fall are often the same ones who buy peat moss and humus in the spring. What?! Those leaves are "gold" for a gardener.

The shot below was taken from the same spot looking west along the path. The property line is outside the fence on purpose so that I could plant a few Norway Spruce saplings outside the fence but still on my property. The north neighbors access road is further to the right (north) and isolates my property because it is deep. I am sure this part of my property had previously been used for hunting and/or for target practice because of all the bones, shells, beer cans, and booze bottles I've found. (The intact bottles I put in my pole barn as "hunting trophies"!) I have two large-ish fenced in areas for the dogs by my house. This is the north and west area. East of the house is another fenced area which can be separated from this one by closing a gate. There's another fenced area by the pole barn for visiting guests who bring dogs.

No weapons yet invented are of any use in a struggle with stupidity. - unattributed

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