Lilacs on Mackinac Island

Lilacs on Mackinac Island, photo by Steven Blair

While lilacs are starting to wind down around the state, they’re just getting going on Mackinac Island. The annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival started last weekend and continues through Sunday, June 15th. Here’s a few tips courtesy the Lilac Festival and Jeff Young, Lilac Curator at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center, Master Gardener and presenter of the “Walk and Talk with Lilacs” program during the Lilac Festival.

  • Common Lilacs need to have 9-12 canes for each 6 feet
  • Leave at least 2 feet between mature Lilacs.
  • Plant new shrubs 16 feet apart (circular shape)
  • Allow for a few more canes if you are planting as a hedge with less depth.
  • If you have too many canes, consider the oldest canes for removal first, leaving good spacing between canes.
  • If not enough canes, pick one or two of the best suckers each year until there are enough.
  • Once the Lilac is established, consider adding one new cane and removing the oldest cane each year to create a vigorous, healthy full flowering plant.

More at the Lilac Festival website.

View Steven’s photo background bigilicious on Facebook and see more at the Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio.

More lilacs and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Crowning-the-Trout-King-by-UpNorth-Memories

Crowning the King at Kalkaska, photo by Don Harrison/UpNorth Memories

Peter E. Ummel, of Grand Rapids, was the first King, chosen and crowned by myself. The Coronation ceremony dragged out a little too long to suit Harold Jors, who had lined up the parade and was waiting at the school grounds for word for the parade to start. He finally sent down a message, “Cut the comedy and hurry up as we are freezing to death.”
~author Fred H. Tomkins

Today’s post comes via the eatdrinkTC Culinary Almanac where I am the editor.

Michigan’s trout season opens this Saturday (April 26) and as it has for 78 years, the people of Kalkaska will mark the occasion with the annual National Trout Festival from Wednesday, April 23 – Sunday, April 27 (persistent music warning on that link!).  After Don Harrison posted a couple of cool old postcards, we decided to dig through the internet to discover the festival’s origins.

From Big Trout Black Gold, Dawn Triplett, editor and published by Kalkaska Genealogical Society:

In 1935, the National Trout Festival made its first official debut with two days of festivities held on April 30 and May 1. Forty floats made up the parade held on the first day.

The Trout King was crowned in the bandstand where evergreen boughs were arrayed. Mr. Peter Emanuel Ummel of Grand Rapids was chosen to rule the festival. With great ceremony he was put under oath and given a crown. Fred H. Tompkins swore the ruler in, making him repeat the long comic sketch swearing his allegiance to Kalkaska County. King Ummel’s throne was a pine stump from the plains of Kalkaska mounted on a trailer and drawn by a car. He took his place on the throne and was driven around the block and up and down main street (Cedar Street) before the parade.

…The prize for the funniest float went to S. C. Shumsky who appeared in full fishing regalia but had his feet clad in skis. Stormy weather had brought some snow showers into the area the day before.

View Don’s photo bigger on Facebook along with several more pics and be sure to check out his collection of Trout Festival pins and pics on Flickr. If you head over to the eatdrinkTC Natinal Trout Festival feature, there is a slideshow of the Festival through its 7+ decades.

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan, photo by rickrjw

Last night I learned from my iceboating friend Andy that the 2014 Central Regional DN Iceboating Championship will be held this Saturday & Sunday (March 15-16, 2014) on West Grand Traverse Bay. The primary launch site will be the DNR launch at Hilltop Rd. and M-22, approximately 9 miles north of Traverse City and 5 miles south of Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. More details at DNA America.

Wikipedia explains that the International DN is a class of ice boat:

The name stands for Detroit News, where the first iceboat of this type was designed and built in the winter of 1936-1937. Archie Arrol was a master craftsman working in the Detroit News hobby shop, and together with iceboaters Joe Lodge and Norman Jarrait designed a racing boat they called the “Blue Streak 60″, later to become known as the “DN 60″. In 1937 a group of 50 laymen worked with Archie in the hobby shop to produce the first fleet of the new iceboats. These first boats broke during the initial season, and after Norm and Joe modified the design to increase the strength, the group got back together to build a second set of iceboats in 1938.

This design, featuring a narrow, single-person cockpit, three steel blades in tricycle style arrangement and a steeply raked mast, remains to this day the most popular ice boat design in use.

…The class has a devout following. The International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association (IDNIYRA) is the governing body for the class. It publishes standards for boat design and allows enthusiasts to assemble for races and to share good ice locations. The DN is raced extensively in the northern United States, Canada, and throughout Northern Europe, with World Championships alternating between North American and Europe each year.

One of the reasons that the DN Ice Boat Class has become so popular over the years has been largely in part to how transportable and fast they truly are. With a steady 10-12 mile per hour wind and good ice conditions, the DN, when piloted properly, can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. And with just a 12-15 mile per hour steady wind, the DN ice boat can reach a readily attainable 55–65 miles per hour, providing a thrilling rush of purely unadulterated bone chilling wind powered ice sailing.

Rick took this photo of a DN on Elk Lake almost exactly 5 years ago, and March is prime season for ice boating in Michigan due to typical snow melts that lay the thickest ice of the year bare. GT Bay is nearly in my front yard and I can assure you that the ice is thick and almost like glass this year! View his photo bigger and see lots more in his Iceboating slideshow.

More ice boating on Michigan in Pictures including one of my favorite videos, Ice Boat vs Chevy!

UP Michigan Ice Fest001

UP Michigan Ice Fest, photo by ebaillies

The annual Michigan Ice Fest takes place January 30 – February 2, 2014 in and around Munising. This annual festival takes place the 1st weekend of February every year and gives you a chance to look at and demo the latest and greatest equipment, meet some of the worlds best climbers and see what they’ve climbed all over the world. There’s also climbing socials and even intro to ice climbing classes using the ice climbing paradise that surrounds Munising.

Click the link above and be sure to check out their Michigan Ice Fest photo gallery on Facebook including galleries from 2009, 2010 & 2012 Ice Fests!

As the Ice Fest organizers note, the UP offers as much as 6 months of climbable ice! The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Ice Climbing page tells more:

Ice climbing is becoming a popular winter sport at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. With ample lake effect snow, numerous waterfalls, porous sandstone cliffs, and the water which seeps out of the rock layers, curtains and columns of ice are common.

Snow and ice are generally present by the second or third week in December and remain until late March. While ice frequently forms along the Pictured Rocks cliffs above Lake Superior, these areas are not recommended for climbing due to hazardous exposure to the lake. The most accessible ice columns are found along the Pictured Rocks escarpment between Munising Falls and Sand Point along Sand Point Road.

Eric took this photo at the Ice Fest in 2012. Check it out bigger and see lots more great shots in his slideshow.

More ice climbing on Michigan in Pictures!

Goose Lake International Music Festival

Goose Lake International Music Festival, 1970, photo by Michigan State Police (courtesy Archives of Michigan)

The massive Goose Lake International Music Festival took place August 7-9, 1970 near Jackson. Seeking Michigan’s feature Michigan’s Woodstock relates:

Performers included Rod Stewart and Faces, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Ten Years After, Mountain, the Flying Burrito Brothers and prominent Michigan acts such as Bob Seeger, Mitch Ryder, the Stooges, and the MC5. Approximately two hundred thousand people attended.

It began with a man named Richard Songer. In 1970, Songer was thirty-five and the owner of Portland Construction Company, a successful business in Southfield, Michigan. He purchased 350 acres near Goose Lake, located outside Jackson.

Songer intended to turn his Goose Lake property into a permanent park and live music venue. He hired people to pave parking lots and build large concrete rest rooms. A permanent revolving stage was built. As a band performed on one side of the stage, another band would be behind them, preparing to go on. When the first band finished, the stage would turn, and the second band would immediately appear.

You can read on for more and here’s several more links:

Photo caption: A crowded parking area at the Goose Lake International Music Festival, 1970. Photo from State Police records, RG 90-240, housed in the Archives of Michigan

SUP Yo?!

SUP Yo?!, photo by Rudy Malmquist

I’ve been doing a lot of stand-up paddleboarding this summer on Grand Traverse Bay courtesy my friend Michael who owns The River of Traverse City. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is and also what a great workout it is.

In a couple of weeks Traverse City will host the TC Waterman. It takes place on Saturday, August 17th and is the largest paddle board event in the Midwest and also the site of the 2013 Great Lakes Regional Championship. In addition to a variety of races and skills challenges for all ages and skill levels, the event features 50 booths by local and national SUP organizations and companies, free clinics, seminars, and demonstrations. The weekend also features two events from Porterhouse Productions: Paella in the Park on Friday (wine, music & paella) and the Great Wakes Festival Saturday (water-themed activities, organizations, music & fun).

Check this photo out background bigtacular and see more in Rudy’s slideshow.

More Traverse City on Michigan in Pictures.

"Bridge to Nowhere" Foggy Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw City , Michigan.

“Bridge to Nowhere” Foggy Mackinac Bridge – Mackinaw City , Michigan, photo by Michigan Nut

“Unless we move without delay to halt the deterioration of our land, our water and our air, our own children may see the last traces of earth’s beauty crushed beneath the weight of man’s waste and ruin.”
~Governor William Milliken to the Michigan legislature, January 1970

While “environmentalism” has become a polarizing term, it seems to me to be a concept that’s at the core of loving & caring for the Great Lakes State. One of my personal heros, Michigan Governor Bill Milliken, recognized this and he and his wife Helen fought strongly throughout their careers to enshrine protection of the natural bounty that they loved into the fabric of Michigan’s laws. It’s no surprise that every year the Michigan Environmental Council recognizes an individual for outstanding leadership, enduring commitment and extraordinary public service in protecting natural resources at the local, state and national levels with the Helen & William Milliken Distinguished Service Award.

The 2013 recipient has been announced, Dave Dempsey. Dempsey is the author of numerous books, a former member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, environmental policy adviser to former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, and member of the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund Board.

“Dave Dempsey is the rare leader who is able to move effortlessly from talking about the arcane technical details of some issue, to explaining in vivid and powerful terms why that issue is so critical to the quality of life for the generations that come after us,” Chris Kolb, MEC president, said in a press release Monday.

“Dave’s contributions to a better Michigan through his public policy advocacy alone deserve our recognition and gratitude. However, when you add in his authoritative chronicling of Michigan’s environmental history through his books, it’s clear he has made a special, positive, and lasting impact on our state.”

There’s no doubt that Dempsey has been a champion of the Great Lakes, and this Sunday (July 14) you have a chance to do some championing of your own as dedicated groups from all over the state host Oil & Water Don’t Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes to raise awareness about climate change and the dangers posed by an oil pipeline that runs through the Mackinac Straits. Enbridge Energy – the company responsible for the devastating July 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill and over 800 other spills since 1999 – has been pumping oil through the Straits for 60 years. They are seeking to pump even more oil through the aging Mackinac pipeline – possibly including tar sands, the most toxic and hard to clean up if spilled.

The rally this Sunday, July 14 at noon at Bridge View Park in St. Ignace (just across the bridge) and there are numerous busses heading there from Kalamazoo, Lansing, Traverse City and other locations. Click for details or view the event on Facebook!

Check John’s photo out bigger and see more in his Bridges / Covered Bridges slideshow.

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