Make Mine a Michigan Thanksgiving: High Bush Cranberry Edition

Highbush Cranberries by Blondieyooper

Cranberries, photo by Blondieyooper

One thing that I love is Thanksgiving dinner, and another is Michigan grown food. Dianna at Promote Michigan brings those together with 15 things that make Thanksgiving Pure Michigan. From starters like Koeze nuts, McClure’s Pickles, Koegel Meats, and Leelanau Cheese to sides like Michigan potatoes & squash to Michigan-raised turkeys and (of course) pumpkin & apple pie and ice cream!

One Thanksgiving staple that Michigan is producing more of are cranberries, and you can get all kinds of information from the US Cranberry Marketing Committee. While it’s too late to get them this year, we have another cranberry that grows in Michigan you might not be aware of. Green Deane’s Eat the Weeds is a great blog, and his page on the High Bush Cranberry says (in part):

The High Bush Cranberry is actually a Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) and a cousin of the elderberry. Both are in the greater Honeysuckle Family and have a characteristic musky odor. That family by the way straddles the edibility line, with some members edible and others not, some tasty and some not. As one might suspect by the name, the High Bush Cranberry has tart fruit. Bradford Angier, a well-known Canada-based forager along side Euell Gibbons, wrote they require a “conditioned palate” to appreciate.

In North America the High Bush Cranberry is found in Canada and the northern half of the United States plus, oddly, New Mexico. It is not as that friendly to wildlife as one might suspect. The fruit persists into the winter because they are not on the top of birds’ preferred food. Birds like the berries after they soften and ferment. White-Tailed deer also browse on the twigs and leaves. For humans the berries are high in Vitamin C, about 30 milligrams per 100 grams.

Viburnum trilobum has several disputed botanical names and several mistaken common names including Pimbina, Mooseberry, Cranberry Tree, Cranberry Bush, American Cranberry, and Squashberry.

Read on for lots more including identification tips. There’s much more Michigan Thanksgiving to feast on at Michigan in Pictures too!

Blondieyooper says she picked over 8 pounds of these gorgeous highbush cranberries in the UP back in October of 2011. View her photo background bigilicious and see more in her Fall 2011 slideshow.

Beating the Winter Blahs at Elizabeth Park

Winter's Beauty

Untitled, photo by mballen89

Several of my friends shared this very appropriate article today about how Norwegians in the far north of the country deal with the dark and cold of winter:

First, Norwegians celebrate the things one can only do in winter. “People couldn’t wait for the ski season to start,” says Leibowitz. Getting outside is a known mood booster, and so Norwegians keep going outside, whatever is happening out there. Notes Leibowitz: “There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Norwegians also have a word, koselig, that means a sense of coziness. It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress. People light candles, light fires, drink warm beverages, and sit under fuzzy blankets. There’s a community aspect to it too; it’s not just an excuse to sit on the couch watching Netflix. Leibowitz reports that Tromsø had plenty of festivals and community activities creating the sense that everyone was in it together.

And finally, people are enamored with the sheer beauty of the season. Leibowitz grew up near the Jersey shore, and “I just took it as a fact that everyone likes summer the best.” But deep in the winter in Norway, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, multiple hours a day can still look like sunrise and sunset, and against the snow, “the colors are incredibly beautiful,” she says. “The light is very soft and indirect.”

Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. “One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter,” says Leibowitz. “It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter.”

Read on for more good advice on battling the winter blahs – I hope it’s helpful to you!

The photo was taken in Elizabeth Park in Trenton which I just learned is Michigan’s first county park!

This 162-acre family estate was bequeathed to the Wayne County Park Trustees in October of 1919 by the children of Elizabeth Slocum.

The acceptance of this special gift marks the beginning of the Wayne County Park System. Elizabeth Park sits like an emerald jewel along the banks of the Detroit River, and features over 1,300 feet of riverwalk for fishing and river watching. In addition Elizabeth Park also offers activities such as softball, cycling, in-line skating, hiking, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in mballen89’s slideshow.

More winter wallpaper and more straight-up winter on Michigan in Pictures!

Snowvember in Michigan

Thanksgiving Snow - Pine Cone Edition

Thanksgiving Snow – Pine Cone Edition, photo by Tom Hughes

Much of Michigan, particularly the southern 2/3 of the Lower Peninsula, is bracing for significant snowfall – as much as 6″ by Sunday morning according to mLive’s Mark Torregrossa:

Snow, possibly mixed with rain, will start in the southwest corner of Lower Michigan after 2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. This includes Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. By 8 a.m. Saturday, wet snow, mixed with rain, will have spread into southeastern Lower Michigan, including Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. Snow should make it into northern Lower Michigan, including Traverse City, Houghton Lake and Alpena by early Saturday afternoon.

The morning will have temperatures between 32 degrees and 35 degrees. Snow will probably struggle to accumulate during the morning.

All of the model data is now consistent that the storm center will intensify during the afternoon. Precipitation will be heaviest during the afternoon and early evening Saturday.

That’s when the driving conditions will likely worsen dramatically and possibly quickly.

The colder air, with temperatures of about 31 degrees will move in to southern Lower between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. At the same time there could be a fairly heavy rate of snow.

Read on for more at mLive. If you’re feeling sad, remember that last November was the snowiest since 1897 in much of Michigan!!

View Tom’s photo bigger and see more in his Rochester MI slideshow.

Also tune in to November snow in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr for photos at they are added!

Red Jack Lake Sunrise

Red Jack Lake Sunrise

Red Jack Lake Sunrise, photo by John Dykstra

View John’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

Here’s a map to Red Jack Lake near Munising and here’s more Michigan lakes and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

PS: Trying out Facebook’s new photo carousel on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook


#TBT: The Boblo Boat aka the Ste. Claire

Herbet Jackson and Boblo Boat Ste Claire

Herbert C Jackson and the Bob-Lo Boat, photo by Christopher Dark

One of the Boblo Boats, the Ste. Claire, is shown here at its new berth, where it was moved a couple of weeks ago.

The Ste. Claire Restoration Project’s History page explains:

The steamer Ste. Claire represents the typical propeller-driven excursion steamer of the turn of the century, a type once found in many parts of the country. Excursion steamers are steamships built primarily for passengers for day trips. Ste. Claire and her running mate Columbia represent the “ocean-going” type of excursion vessel although they were used on lakes.

The steamer Columbia and Ste. Claire are the last two remaining classic excursion steamers in the country; and the last essentially unaltered passenger ships designed by Frank E. Kirby; and for their essentially unaltered propulsion machinery of a type becoming increasingly rare ; as the two last vessels of the Detroit and Windsor Ferry Co.; as two of the few surviving vessels built by the Detroit Dry Dock Company, and for their unaltered propulsion machinery, which is of a rare type. Columbia is the oldest passenger steamer in the United States, excepting vessels properly classed as ferries. Columbia and her running-mate Ste. Claire are the last two steamers of their type with integrity left in the United States. The pair shared their original run from Detroit to Bob-Lo Island for 81 years, a record of service on a single run unequalled in U. S. history

There’s a ton of cool stuff on the Boblo Boat website including their media center, plans for the restoration and of course donations!

Christopher got this great shot of the Herbert C Jackson upbound on the Rouge River as she passed the Ste. Claire. Click to view it bigger and see more of his photos on Facebook.

More great night photography and more ships on Michigan in Pictures.

November 18, 1958: The Wreck of the Carl D Bradley

Steamer Carl D Bradley Rodgers City Mich

Steamer Carl D Bradley Rogers City Mich, photo by UpNorth Memories/Don Harrison

Every year, I revisit the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th. I do this because I remember the ferocity of the winds on the day of the wreck vividly from my childhood, because as a Michigander Lightfoot’s song is probably coded in my DNA by now, and also because it’s very popular with readers. Nonetheless, the feature Should musicians decide the shipwrecks we know? from IPR News Radio by Peter Payette & Morgan Springer definitely struck a chord. There are thousands of ships that have gone down the world’s eighth sea, and so many families that have felt the loss when a sailor doesn’t return from one of the most dangerous jobs there is. We’d do well to remember some of the others as well!

On this day in 1958, my vote for the most devastating Great Lakes shipwreck of the modern era took place. 33 of 35 crew members perished in the wreck, and 23 of them were from the town of Rogers City that boasted a population of less than 4000 people. The Presque Isle County Historical Museum’s website for the Steamer Carl D. Bradley tells the tale of the wreck of the Bradley:

The steamer was 638 feet long overall, with a 65-foot beam, a depth of 33 feet and a cargo capacity of 14,000 tons of crushed stone. The unloading boom was 160 feet long. The engineering and propulsion plant on the Carl D. Bradley was similar to that on the T.W. Robinson which was built two years before the Carl D. Bradley.

…The Carl D. Bradley, traveling light departed Buffington, Indiana around 9:30 pm, Monday, November 17, and headed up Lake Michigan bound for the Port of Calcite. Roland Bryan, a sailor since age fourteen, was the master. This trip was the last for the season and the steamer was going home. The Bradley never made it. In less than 24 hours the Carl D. Bradley was on the bottom of Lake Michigan and 33 of the 35-man crew were dead or missing.

When the vessel left Buffington, the winds were blowing up to 35 miles per hour from the south. The storm that was about to engulf the Bradley was developing over the plains when a cold front from the north met a warm front over the plains. The temperature in Chicago had dropped about 20 degrees that day. The forecast warned of gale winds. The crew prepared for severe weather by securing the unloading boom and the hatches. The steamer followed the route up the Wisconsin shore to Cana Island then changed course and cut across Lake Michigan toward Lansing Shoal. As the wind velocity increased, the crew filled the ballast tanks to maximum practical condition. By 4:00 pm of the next day, the 18th, the winds had reached 65 miles per hour. Even though the lake was rough and the winds high, the boat rode the heavy seas with no hint of the laboring.

Captain Bryan had asked the cooks to serve an early dinner. He knew the turn from Lake Michigan toward Lake Huron would put heavy weather broadside of the vessel. He wanted to give the mess crew the opportunity to clean up and secure before turning. The mess room was full of crewmembers anticipating going home.

About 5:30 pm First Mate Elmer Flemming radioed Calcite that the Bradley would arrive at 2:00 am. Then a “loud thud” was heard. In the pilothouse Captain Bryan and Flemming looked aft and saw the stern sag. Flemming immediately sent a distress signal over the radio. “Mayday! Mayday! This is the Carl D. Bradley. Our position is approximately twelve miles southwest of Gull Island. We are in serious trouble! We’re breaking up!” Captain Bryan sounded the general alarm, signaled the engine room to stop the ship, and blew the whistle to abandon ship. The power system failed and the lights in the bow section went out. The Bradley heaved upward near amidships and broke in two. The forward section rolled over and sank. The stern end plunged to the bottom. Within a few minutes the Carl D. Bradley was gone.

Read on for much more including theories of how the ship sank and the story of how deckhand Frank Mays & Elmer Flemming survived the wreck. At the website you’ll also find some cool old photos of the ship, newspaper clippings and photos of the crewmen lost at sea. The Wikipedia entry for the Carl D Bradley is particularly good as well with a lot more details!

This trailer for November Requiem, a DVD about the Carl D Bradley, the impact on Rogers City and the dive to the Bradley:

View Don’s photo big as the Bradley, check out more of his freighter postcards & pics, and friend him up on Facebook for lots more great old photos of Michigan.

PS: I added a new category that I somehow didn’t have already: Michigan shipwrecks – enjoy!

PPS: Apparently great minds this alike – check this out from today’s Interlochen Public Radio!

New Pharaohs of GR: Steelcase Pyramid May Host SUPERNAP Data Center

Steelcase Pyramid Grand Rapids Data Center

Squished Pyramid, photo by Gary Syrba

Fox 17 reports that a Nevada-based company has chosen the former Steelcase pyramid as the site for a large data center.

Switch will build a $5 billion, 2 million square-foot SUPERNAP data center at the former Steelcase office building.

The deal is contingent on the passage of three bills currently in the Michigan state legislature.

The $5 billion reflects the costs for both the data centers and the computer servers that will be placed inside the buildings over a multi-year period, according to the company.  SUPERNAP Michigan will be the largest data center campus in the eastern U.S. and will serve Switch’s current and new clients.

Switch says that have 1,000 clients, including eBay, Intel, Shutterfly, Amgen, HP, JP Morgan Chase, Google, Amazon, Fox Broadcasting and many more.

Read on for more and get the details on the legislative changes the deal hinges on at the Freep. Here’s some cool drone footage of the Steelcase Pyramid as well. Site Selection Magazine has a writeup on the building with the tale of the tape to one of Michigan’s most iconic structures designed by Grand Rapids architectural firm The WBDC Group:

In addition to its pyramid-shaped design, the Steelcase Corporate Development Center offers several other unique amenities. The central atrium features a five-story rotating pendulum suspended over a reflective water pool. Vaulted ceilings and expansive windows throughout the building, combined with exterior balconies, provide an open and spacious workplace that makes liberal use of natural light.

The building has 333,000 sq. ft. of office space and 242,000 sq. ft. of research and development space.

Other on-site amenities include a 14,995-sq.-ft. full-service cafeteria, 12,500-sq.-ft. data center, 8,351-sq.-ft. two-story photo studio, exercise and locker rooms, card-access security, on-site video surveillance and 1,014 parking spaces.

View Gary’s photo bigger and see more in his In the City (Grand Rapids) slideshow.

More buildings & architecture on Michigan in Pictures.