Frozen Hawthorn

December 22, 2014

Christmas Hawthorne

Frozen Hawthorne, photo by Pete Hudeck

I was looking for photos of last December’s ice storm that paralyzed much of Michigan last year, but then I found this photo which seemed like a much better way to start a Monday! If you want to read about that, the Grand Rapids National Weather Service has a recap of the storm.

View Pete’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

More ice on Michigan in Pictures!

Spires and the Solstice

December 20, 2014

Spires

Spires, photo by Liz Glass

The Old Farmer’s Almanac shares that winter begins with the Winter Solstice at 6:03 PM EST tomorrow (Sunday, December 21):

Winter inspires both joy and woe. Some people can’t wait for the cooler weather, snow, skiing and ice skating, curling up by a fire, and the holiday spirit. Other people dislike the frigid temperatures, blizzards, and wild weather.

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn. In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice days are the days with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year.

Definitely check out Liz’s photo bigger and see more in her massive & cool Ice slideshow or (if you prefer) her Abstracts slideshow.

Christmas Day Snowfall

“Winter Blues” Rural Michigan Countryside, photo by John McCormick

Editor’s Note: I inadvertently re-blogged a barn photo by John that I posted last year. This one’s a beauty too though!!

After a promising start, the Great Lakes snow machine has shut down leaving us to wonder if a white Christmas is on the horizon. mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa seeks to answer that as he looks at three storms headed our way:

The first storm is mostly a rain maker for most of Michigan. As the colder air moves in this Tuesday and Wednesday, some accumulating snow will occur in the U.P. and far northern Lower Michigan. It looks like points north of Gaylord, and into the U.P. will pick up a few inches of snow… Storm number two will be a stronger, moisture laden storm. Right now and for several days in the past, the track has been projected to be to our south.

…The third storm I can see is still quite uncertain since it is about 10 days out into the future. Both of the most widely accepted weather computer models show a storm system dropping southeast out of Canada toward Christmas. This storm could bring a swath of light snow across Michigan around Christmas Day. There is still a lot of uncertainty on the exact track and amount of moisture. Definitely watch this storm with me, as it looks like it is Lower Michigan’s only chance of a white Christmas.

Here’s hoping!

John took this photo in Montcalm County last year on Christmas Day after an 8″ snowfall. View it bigger on Flickr, see more in his Winter slideshow and definitely join 30,000 other fans by tuning into Michigan Nut Photography – it’s one of the best follows on Facebook!

More snow on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT Ice Wine Season

December 11, 2014

Ice Wine Season

Ice Wine Season, photo by Andrew McFarlane

This morning as I was working on a Facebook post announcing the release of Black Star Farms’ 2013 A Capella Ice Wine, I stumbled upon a cool synchronicity that brought together several of my personal and professional pursuits into such a neat package that I had to share it!

It turns out that exactly one year ago today, I spent a very cold day on the Old Mission Peninsula shooting a photo feature for eatdrinkTC of the ice wine harvest & pressing at Black Star Farms. Ice wine, eiswein in the original German, is a rare dessert wine that requires care and skill to produce and…

While December 11, 2013 was by no means the coldest December 11th on record (that would be 1977 at -11), it was a bone-chilling day with temps hovering around 11 degrees with a wind chill that never got above zero after 9:30 AM.

In short, as Black Star Farms winemaker Vladimir Banov explained, the perfect day for the ice wine harvest.

Ice wine is not made every year, and not by every winery. U.S. law for ice wines specifies that the grapes must be naturally frozen to be sold as ice wine.

To begin, a winery will leave a portion of the harvest to hang. Even under the bird netting, it’s a gamble against mercurial weather and clever creatures. Many years, it will leave the winery with nothing.

In some years however, such as this one, patience is rewarded.

Click through for a photographic look at the ice wine process along with some videos. If you’re interested, here’s information about A Capella Ice Wine.

You can view my photo background big and see more in my Ice Wine at Black Star Farms slideshow.

More wine and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Shoreline Anemones

December 9, 2014

Shoreline Anemones

Shoreline Anemones, photo by Aaron Springer

Aaron got a great pic of the mid-day December sun illuminating the ice-soaked plant life at the Point Betsie Light.

View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

More icy goodness on Michigan in Pictures!

The Anvil and the Pine

December 6, 2014

Cliffs from below

Cliffs from below, photo by David Clark

David writes that “The Anvil” is a high point where a white pine somehow makes a living growing out of a crack in the rock. On his blog, Cliffs and Ruins he writes:

This is one of my favorite places along the Cliff range: The Lookout. Apparently different people have different lookouts, but this is what I think of as the Cliff Lookout.

It’s a bit of a hike (no, you don’t have to go straight up the side of the cliffs… but you can if you want), but the view is 100% worth it. You can even see the silhouettes of the Huron Mountains in the distance. The most amazing thing, to me, is that tree — you can see it here. It’s a big old pine growing straight up out of the rock, over the edge of the cliffs.

There’s nothing quite like the solitude at the top of the lookout. When I snowshoed out to the lookout, there weren’t any tracks at all on the trail to the lookout — nor on the trail to the trail! It was one of those feelings which I love when I’m hiking up here — that I’m the first person in years to set foot here and see these sights. It might not be true, but this is still one of my favorite places to go whenever I really need some time alone.

View his photo background bigtacular and see more in his Winter slideshow. You can purchase David’s pics right here.

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

aDSC_0287

aDSC_0287, photo by Craig

The moon will be full at 7:27 am tomorrow, which basically means tonight. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has this to say about the December Full Moon, known also as the Cold Moon:

During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Nights Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time.

The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

Also, I found a moon phase calendar for December 2014 (and beyond) that’s a really cool way to visualize the month’s moon!!

View Craig’s photo from back in 2009 on the Grand Haven south pier background big and see more in his Pier slideshow.

There’s many moons in the Michigan in Pictures archives!

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