August 3, 2012
July 21, 2012
July 20, 2012
Bloomberg is reporting that the Midwest drought is now affecting nearly 80% of the corn crop, over half of the US and is a factor in heat waves that have set or tied a whopping 6,639 daily high temperature records since June 1. The drought is already affecting southern and west Michigan and parts of the UP and appears likely to expand into northern Michigan as well.
This Detroit News article reports that the percentage of the state affected by severe drought has jumped to 21% from just 2% a week ago. The State Drought Monitor shows the level of drought severity in Michigan, and you can see more with the Midwest region map and the Michigan Interactive Drought Conditions map. This report on Yahoo lists some of the highlights (lowlights?) of Michigan’s 2012 drought:
- Rainfall shortages since May 1 are up to six inches in some areas. The average rainfall at this time of year is eight to nine inches.
- Last week, the Michigan State University Extension (of the Department of Geology) reported that across Michigan, particularly in the southwestern part of the state, there was evidence of plant water stress.
- MSU Extension says that the extreme heat from the first week of July exacerbated crop concerns. Temperatures rose to high 90s and topped 100 degrees in some areas.
- The Michigan DEQ has issued several ozone alerts already this year. Michigan cities of Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ludington and Benton Harbor have been under air quality alert for 14-15 days since late May. Grand Rapids, Mich., has been under ozone alert for 17 days.
- MSU Extension says the intense drought across Michigan’s southern, central and eastern Corn Belt region has similar conditions to the great drought of 1988.
- …and the bad news: Continued dryness in Michigan is predicted for the rest of July, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
More about Holland’s Big Red Lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures.
July 18, 2012
When someone with the commitment to jump into the icy waters of Lake Superior in February asks you to take a look at something she thinks is important, my feeling is that you darn well do it.
Kate shared news that the Keweenaw-based North Woods Conservancy owns a piece of property called Seven Mile Point. It’s 32 acres with 1,854’ of sand, basaltic bedrock and volcanic cobble beach located on Lake Superior about 5 miles from Eagle River. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory listed it for high-priority protection due to the unique plant and animal communities associated with the 1.1 billion-year-old basaltic lava flow lakeshore.
While they were able to get going with the purchase, they haven’t been able to raise enough funds to make the payments. They’re seeking folks to help with one-time or monthly donations. Click for more information and photos of this gorgeous spot and also follow them on Facebook!
More of Lake Superior on Michigan in Pictures.
July 4, 2012
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
~Adlai Stevenson, speech in Detroit, 1952
The safety to be unpopular is a freedom we don’t always think of, but something we might well consider. It strikes me that in our relentless drive to get everyone on the same page, we’re not able to get anything done. There is a lot to be done and a lot of places we can find common ground to make our schools and communities better and protect the natural resources that make Michigan the place we love.
If it’s total agreement you’re looking for, that’s probably fascism. Democracy is messy.
Speaking of messy, you’ve no doubt noticed bigger booms over the last few days, That’s due to a new law in Michigan that allows the purchase of any federally allowed firework. The messy democratic process is already at work:
City officials across Michigan have scrambled in recent weeks to try to stymie the party in the sky — limiting when residents can set off fireworks in light of a change in state law that allows a more powerful category of explosives to be sold and used in the state.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts blasted the state law, saying “pyromaniacs” are terrorizing the community, scaring children, pets, seniors and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with the louder explosions caused by the more powerful fireworks.
“The state has legalized these ‘consumer fireworks’ and people are going gung ho,” Fouts said. “People, who were hesitant to do illegal fireworks now are empowered.”
State legislators approved the looser fireworks legislation, which went into effect in January, to keep residents from taking their money to other states to purchase fireworks not available here. The new law forces communities to allow the fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after federal holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
Warren, Grand Rapids, Ferndale, Novi, Birmingham, Royal Oak and other cities across Michigan are already creating ordinances to ban these fireworks during other times of the year.
Here’s hoping you have an explosively fun and very safe Fourth of July! Here’s many more Fourth of July photos from Michigan in Pictures!
June 30, 2012
Yesterday I was talking with some folks about how tasty a daylily is. I’ve always called them tiger lilies, and last summer I learned that you can eat them so we stuffed the flowers and baked them!!
It’s important to note that these are NOT the poisonous easter lilies, and as with all wild food, know what you’re eating is of supreme importance. This article about harvesting and eating daylilies has some excellent tips and you might also enjoy dining on day lilies by Hank Shaw.
June 20, 2012
I thought a cool photo would be perfect for this scorching hot summer solstice! The Summer Solstice is the yearly moment when the sun’s apparent position in the sky reaches its northernmost point. You can think about it as throwing a ball up in the air – when the ball reaches its maximum height, that’s the solstice.
In addition to being the longest day of the year, it’s also the first day of summer. It all happens today at 7:09 PM in Michigan! More about the solstice from National Geographic.
June 2, 2012
“June is bustin’ out all over.”
~ Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945
We’ve posted our June Michigan Event Calendar on Absolute Michigan. It’s packed full of all kinds of ways to bust out in June. I’m betting we missed some fun ones, so please share your favorite June events in the comments!
One of the events we do have is the annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, a celebration of lilacs and Mackinac Island that runs June 8-17th. While March’s crazy weather pushed lilacs elsewhere, the unique climate of Mackinac Island coupled with a cold snap has slowed lilacs down so that they’ll have them there. Check their Facebook page for updates and more photos.
Another microclimate where lilacs are still in force are the Les Cheneaux Islands, an archipelago of 36 islands east of the Straits of Mackinac. See this photo bigger, in Suzy’s slideshow or check it out in the Les Cheneaux Islands group!
May 26, 2012
May 1, 2012
This morning the perfectly titled photo was posted to our Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr, and while it’s actually from August, it definitely captures the light and promise of warmth that May brings.
Over on Absolute Michigan we’ve posted our May Event Calendar for Michigan that is packed full of all kinds of fun across Michigan celebrating new life and the beginning of summer in the Great Lakes State.