Michigan in Pictures is going to take a break for Memorial Day Weekend. I hope you all have a safe & enjoyable weekend!
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to pleasure the children of to-day. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and heart-aches and nightmares are left out.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum, 1900
L. Frank Baum was born 144 years ago today, and this Sunday marks the 110th anniversary of the publication of his classic fairy tale, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Holland Sentinel’s excellent article L. Frank Baum and the Macatawa Goose Man: Celebrating the origins of “The Wizard of Oz” explores the author’s connection to West Michigan, saying in part:
He was named after his uncle, Lyman Spalding Baum, but never liked Lyman and always was known as Frank to family and friends. As an actor and playwright, he was Louis F. Baum. As a newspaper editor, L.F. Baum, and as the children’s book author most famously known for “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” he was known as L. Frank Baum. But to the folks in Macatawa, he was simply known as “The Goose Man.”
…In 1899, Baum published “Father Goose: His Book.” The collection of children’s poems exploded in popularity and provided Baum with wealth and prestige for the first time in his life, his great-grandson, Bob Baum, recalled.
The author used the profits from his book to rent a large, multi-story Victorian summer home nestled on the southern end of the Macatawa peninsula on Lake Michigan. The home, which he eventually purchased, came to be known as the Sign of the Goose, an ever-present reminder of the fame that came along with “Father Goose.”
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” supposedly was written in Chicago, but some of the forest scenes look just like the pathways that run through the dunes, the younger Baum said.
He assumes Macatawa was where part of the book had been worked on or written, as Baum might have found inspiration from the castle in Castle Park for the yellow brick road, some say, or even based some of the characters in the book on personalities he encountered in the small lakeshore community.
“Especially in the Oz stories, a lot of characters and situations that we may not recognize … he drew lots of inspiration from Macatawa for the book.”
According to an undated newspaper article detailing one reporter’s visit to the Sign of the Goose, Baum not only was popular and well-known among the adults in the area, but children were quite fond of him as he allowed them into his home to read fairy tales, which occupied one of the shelves of his large bookcase.
The Holland Oz Project launched last summer with the installation of this floral living mosaic book, a yellow brick road, and colorful landscaping in Centennial Park with bronze sculptures on the grounds of the Herrick Library across the street. A funding campaign to support the project uses personalized engraved yellow bricks for placement along the yellow brick road.
To learn more about the Oz Project, visit their website or call the Holland Area Visitors Bureau at 616.394.0000.
You can see more in Erik’s Holland 2019 gallery on Flickr.
Rhonda caught these tulips in glorious bloom last weekend at the Dow Gardens in Midland:
Established in 1899 as a home for Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and family, Dow Gardens now welcomes over 300,000 guests per year. Experience a dazzling 110-acre display of annuals and perennials punctuated by distinctive bridges, an award-winning children’s garden, towering pines, and delightful water features. Your admission includes access to Whiting Forest, home to the longest canopy walk in the United States.
Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens features 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, apple orchard, meadows, and stream. Guests of all ages and abilities are immersed in the forest on the nation’s longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, soaring up to 40 feet above the ground. The Alden B. Dow-designed Whiting home now welcomes guests as a Visitor Center. Other features include a playground, apple orchard, Whiting Forest Cafe, restoration of Snake Creek, and two pedestrian bridges.
You can see more in Rhonda’s Tulips gallery on Flickr.
Stay strong everyone!!!
The trout lily derives its name due to the resemblance of its mottled leaves to the coloring on brook trout. This 4-10″ tall wildflower is one of the earliest to bloom in Michigan and is also known as Adder’s Tongue and Dogtooth Violet. Edible Wild Food’s entry for trout lily (Erythronium americanum) says:
Trout Lily grows in huge colonies that can completely cover a forest floor. The colonies can be hundreds of years old and takes a long time to grow to such a size. Its bulbs are sterile up to about the seventh year and then it produces only one leaf and no flowers. When they mature one plant will grow two leaves and one, beautiful yellow flower. The colony spreads mostly by runners and less importantly by seed. Trout lilies have a symbiotic relationship with ants known as myrmecochory. This means that they exchange a lipid-rich appendage on their seeds in return for an ant seed dispersal that spreads the colony and protects the seeds from predation. This plant is a beautiful spring ephemeral meaning it is short-lived in the spring only.
You can see this photo & more from Bill in our Michigan in Pictures group on Facebook.
SORRY FOLKS – STILL GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS! THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO POST YESTERDAY, SO I GUESS WE HAVE A 2 FOR 1 SALE GOING ON!!
The vernal equinox heralding the start of Spring happened at 11:50 PM Thursday night. EarthSky editor Deborah Byrd’s article on the vernal equinox has a ton of great information, video, and illustrations and explains:
…there’s nothing official about it, it’s traditional to say the upcoming March or vernal equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This equinox does provide a hallmark for the sun’s motion in our sky, marking that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north … At the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).
Read on for more including how you can mark due east and west from any location on the equinox!
Happy May Day everyone!
Dale took this on May 1, 2017 after a much warmer spring and writes: Took a walk to the Rosy Mound (sand dune) just south of Grand Haven this morning, and found many Dutchman’s Breeches along the trail! I was looking for red trillium, but found none of them. The anatomy of this flower is quite amazing, with the stamens and pistil hanging down.
Get your desktop ready with lots more Spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the number of Michigan honey bee colonies is on the rise:
The number of honey bee colonies in Michigan rose about 16 percent over the last year. About 25,000 colonies existed at the beginning of 2016 in a census of operations with five or more colonies, according to the National Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The comparable number on Jan. 1, 2017, was 29,000 colonies.
Varroa mites were the primary stressor of Michigan colonies over the last five quarters. They affected only 5.9 percent of the state’s bee colonies in the first quarter of 2016, but 64.1 percent of colonies in the third quarter of 2016. The Varroa mite is an external parasite that attaches to bees and weakens them.
The total number of bee colonies in the U.S. sank slightly during 2016, but held relatively steady at about 2.62 million colonies.
Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms were observed in more than 84,000 bee colonies in the U.S. from January through March 2017, a 27% increase from the same quarter of 2016.