Michigan Groundhog
Young Groundhog, photo by John E Heintz Jr

Happy Groundhog Day everyone! We’re hoping that folks in the southern part of the state are digging out all right!

Michigan has native groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, whistle-pigs, or land-beavers. You can learn all about them from the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web under Marmota monax (woodchuck) which says (in part):

Woodchucks have numerous common names, including ground hog, and whistle pig. The word “woodchuck” is a misinterpretation of their Native American name “wuchak”, which roughly translates as “the digger”. Groundhog Day occurs when Punxsutawney Phil, a captive woodchuck held in rural Pennsylvania, is awakened from hibernation in order to determine if he will see his shadow. According to the legend, if he sees his shadow there will be 6 additional weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, legend predicts an early spring.

The legend of Groundhog Day is likely due to the fact that woodchucks often re-enter hibernation after emerging from their dens prematurely.

We all know about Punxsutawney Phil, but have you heard of Michigan’s Official Groundhog? Her name is Woody, and she lives at the Howell Conference & Nature Center and unfortunately is battling a severe respiratory infection so her alternate Murray will stand in if she’s unable to perform her official duties at 8:15 today.

Woody correctly forecast six more weeks of winter weather on February 2, 2014, much to the chagrin of close to two hundred shivering attendees of that Sunday morning’s Groundhog Day festivities.

Last year’s prognostication, her sixteenth, was made crystal clear by her outright refusal to even leave her home. With temperatures at the Nature Center hovering in the low 20′s and several inches of snow on the ground, the clairvoyant chuck’s behavior was interpreted as just another sign of her wisdom.

Read on for more.

View John’s photo bigger and see lots more backyard wildlife in his ANIMAL PHOTOGRAPHY slideshow.

When in Doubt Jump off a Cliff

When in Doubt, Jump off a Cliff, photo by shaleewanders

Through the magic of Twitter, I came across the website Shalee Wanders the other day. Created by Shalee Blackmer, it’s a really engaging site she created to inspire people (especially young people) to get out and enjoy traveling on a budget.

The post that drew me in was her Michigan Bucket List, a compilation with some photos of a lot of very fun things to do from to hiking the Porcupine Mountains to exploring the Detroit Packard Plant. Even better, there’s 250+ comments from people with more ideas for getting the most out of Michigan.

View Shalee’s photo from last summer near Marquette bigger and see more on her Instagram.

PS: I do feel that I need to point out that last summer Lake Superior was ice cold, making this leap especially impressive!


Pacman, photo by Tom Syrba

It’s some indication of the importance of Election Day to me that one of the biggest stories of the century went unreported on Michigan in Pictures yesterday. I’m speaking of course of the fact that on Monday the Internet Archive launched a web-based library of classic arcade video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s called The Internet Arcade.

The Arcade contains hundreds of games from early “bronze-age” videogames with black and white screens and simple sounds, to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music.

Many of these are playable in a browser. Click to start losing productivity before it’s too late!

View Tom’s photo background big and see more in his slideshow.

More fun stuff on Michigan in Pictures.

Swimming All Summer Long

All Summer Long in Northern Michigan, photo by Craig’s Obsession

CBS Chicago reports that after today, it’s illegal to swim in Lake Michigan until next May, and violations are subject to a $500 fine!

According to Chapter 7 of the Chicago Park District code: “Entering or remaining in the water at [Chicago Park District] beaches shall be permitted only during the bathing season.” The part district does have the authority to extend the season.

As most folks who live along the Great Lakes know, September typically offers warmer water and better swimming than June, so on behalf of the State of Michigan, let me extend an invitation to our oppressed Windy City brethren to enjoy the beaches of Michigan this fall!

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

Spraymasters Closing Pyramid

Spraymasters Closing Pyramid, photo by mark zacks

Although this photo of the Spray Masters isn’t a TBT (Throwback Thursday) it sure feels like one!

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

Even more pics on the Dixie Lake Facebook!

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2014

Bombs of Smoke And Confetti

Bombs of Smoke And Confetti, photo by Ross Ellet

Happy 4th of July everyone!

View Ross’s photo background big and see more in his Night Photography slideshow.


APRIL 1, 2014 – LANSING, MI Governor Rick Snyder traveled to Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula to announce to a crowd of media, dignitaries and frozen-in-place Michiganders that effective immediately, the “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign will be re-branded as “Pure Snow”.

“Who are we kidding?” Gov. Snyder asked. “Winter 2014 was like something out of the latest Thor movie (which coincidentally cost less to make than this year’s snow plowing bill). Pure Michigan has served the state well for years, but even though it looks like we’re in the clear now – in another six months, it’s back to winter again!”

The state’s $8.4 million dollar re-branding effort will seek to market travel by snowmobilers, skiers and “people without a brain in their head.” The State rock will now be “ice”, the State capital will now be Pellston, the “Ice Box of the North”, the State motto will be “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, what the heck are you doing here?” and the State animal will now be “frozen in a snowdrift”.




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