October 6, 2015
While the leaves have yet to turn for serious in northwest lower Michigan, Michigan picked up yet another national accolade. The readers of USA TODAY voted for the best fall scenic drive and their #1 pick was Michigan’s M-22:
The M-22 route along Lake Michigan is one of America’s most beautiful tours, and it gets even better in the fall. This 116-mile road brings visitors through the peaceful countryside and along the shore, past small businesses, wineries, galleries and, of course, countless colorful trees. Visitors can stop and visit points of interest along the way and meet some locals, making this fall leaves trip a little bit wildlife and a little bit small town, all in one.
As a person who’s lived on or near M-22 for much of my life, I heartily agree! Read on to see the other selections, learn more about the 116-mile Michigan Highway 22, and visit this website for more about M-22 Fall Color Touring.
Lots more fall color on Michigan in Pictures!
October 5, 2015
The ArtPrize Seven Final 20 has been announced with 3 of the top entries from 2013 once again in the running. Click the link to see them all, incuding this one: michigan petoskey stone by Randall Libby from Manistee. It’s on display at the DeVos Center – here’s the scoop:
WORLDS LARGEST PETOSKEY STONE DISPLAY Using petoskey stone and fossil, a framed two-dimensional display with a square shape that measures approximately nine feet (9ft.) tall by nine feet (9ft.) wide / a depth of approximately 4 inches and a weight near 700lbs. Subject matter- State of Michigan map with all 83 counties. One of a kind Hundreds of hours of labor with hundreds of individual slices of semi-precious stone- this item is sure to compete for top placement in art prize. To see examples of earlier work go to petoskeystoneart.com
More of ArtPrize through the years on Michigan in Pictures.
October 3, 2015
As we wait for the fall color season in Michigan to kick off, here’s a look back to last October and my annual rework of one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures, the Science of Fall Color. If you already know the words you can sing along – have a great weekend folks!
Many think that cool weather or frost cause the leaves to change color. While temperature may dictate the color and its intensity, it is only one of many environmental factors that play a part in painting deciduous woodlands in glorious fall colors.
…The process that starts the cascade of events that result in fall color is actually a growth process. In late summer or early autumn, the days begin to get shorter, and nights are longer. Like most plants, deciduous trees and shrubs are rather sensitive to length of the dark period each day. When nights reach a threshold value and are long enough, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and the stem divide rapidly, but they do not expand. This abscission layer is a corky layer of cells that slowly begins to block transport of materials such as carbohydrates from the leaf to the branch. It also blocks the flow of minerals from the roots into the leaves. Because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at about the same time each year in a given location, whether temperatures are cooler or warmer than normal.
During the growing season, chlorophyll is replaced constantly in the leaves. Chlorophyll breaks down with exposure to light in the same way that colored paper fades in sunlight. The leaves must manufacture new chlorophyll to replace chlorophyll that is lost in this way. In autumn, when the connection between the leaf and the rest of the plant begins to be blocked off, the production of chlorophyll slows and then stops. In a relatively short time period, the chlorophyll disappears completely.
This is when autumn colors are revealed. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both then become visible when the green chlorophyll is gone. These colors are present in the leaf throughout the growing season. Red and purple pigments come from anthocyanins. In the fall anthocyanins are manufactured from the sugars that are trapped in the leaf. In most plants anthocyanins are typically not present during the growing season.
As autumn progresses, the cells in the abscission layer become more dry and corky. The connections between cells become weakened, and the leaves break off with time. Many trees and shrubs lose their leaves when they are still very colorful. Some plants retain a great deal of their foliage through much of the winter, but the leaves do not retain their color for long. Like chlorophyll, the other pigments eventually break down in light or when they are frozen. The only pigments that remain are tannins, which are brown.
Temperature, sunlight, and soil moisture greatly influence the quality of the fall foliage display. Abundant sunlight and low temperatures after the time the abscission layer forms cause the chlorophyll to be destroyed more rapidly. Cool temperatures, particularly at night, combined with abundant sunlight, promote the formation of more anthocyanins. Freezing conditions destroy the machinery responsible for manufacturing anthocyanins, so early frost means an early end to colorful foliage. Drought stress during the growing season can sometimes trigger the early formation of the abscission layer, and leaves may drop before they have a chance to develop fall coloration. A growing season with ample moisture that is followed by a rather dry, cool, sunny autumn that is marked by warm days and cool but frostless nights provides the best weather conditions for development of the brightest fall colors. Lack of wind and rain in the autumn prolongs the display; wind or heavy rain may cause the leaves to be lost before they develop their full color potential.
OK, sorry to share a novel with you. Might have to change the name of the blog to “Michigan in a Whole Bunch of Words with a Picture.”
PS: I have to think that it doesn’t look the same there this year due to the crazy storm they are still recovering from.
Tons more fall photos on Michigan in Pictures.
October 2, 2015
Keith’s Moon Names page says that the October full moon was known as the Hunter’s Moon by Colonial Americans, the Harvest Moon by the Cherokee and ancient Celts and the Blood Moon in Medieval England.
The Farmer’s Almanac says that October’s moon is full on the 27th at 8:05 AM and adds:
Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.
Lots more moon lore on Michigan in Pictures!
October 1, 2015
The Detroit Free Press reports that the salmon population is plummeting in Lake Michigan. The article begins:
They are the king of the Great Lakes sport fish, luring thousands of anglers to Michigan waters every year for a chance to try to land them — and helping fuel a multibillion-dollar fishing and boating tourism industry.
But the Chinook salmon’s numbers are plummeting in Lake Michigan due to a combination of natural forces, unnatural invasive species, and the state Department of Natural Resources’ own efforts to dial back the population and prevent a more permanent population crash as happened in Lake Huron about a decade ago.
The salmon population on Lake Michigan is down 75% from its 2012 peak, said Randy Claramunt, a DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist based in Charlevoix.
A leading cause is a reduction in alewives, a silvery fish up to 10 inches long that is the salmon’s primary prey on the Great Lakes. The alewife population has been decimated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have changed the nutrient dynamics of the lakes.
Read on for more at the Freep.
September 30, 2015
This exhibit focuses on the ever-changing shape of the shores of Lake Michigan. The lakeshore is currently experiencing erosion similar to that of the mid-1980’s and late-1990’s. At that time those dwelling on the lakeshore hastened to build the seawalls and jetties which would fortify their properties and homes from the obliterating effect of the waves pushing out of the rising water. Eventually, as the water receded, the sand returned to build up the shoreline and bury the wooden structures that were erected there.
Now, as Lake Michigan moves through its rhythms once again, the water is advancing and the sands retreating, exposing the old, decaying seawalls. I have created a photo-journal of this changing shoreline scenery, featuring the old seawalls and jetties as aged reminders of the cycles which are characteristic to our natural world.
September 29, 2015
Here’s the latest cover photo for Michigan in Pictures, one of many in the Michigan Cover Photos group on Flickr!
It’s from early October of 2013, and while it looks like our color season could be pretty darned good, it’s probably a little late this year. Via the Freep, it looks like the recent run of “Indian summer” is pushing color back:
The Upper Peninsula, which usually has plenty of fall color by this time in September, is still lolling around in green, reports Pure Michigan and the Foliage Network, which monitor fall color in the state.The very western Upper Peninsula as of Thursday was showing between 12% to 30% color, but the rest of the state had none.
Things seem to be about two weeks or more behind schedule.
Still, “cooler weather has taken hold and should help to get things going,” reports Market Rzonca, who runs The Foliage Network.
Pure Michigan’s fall color blog (Michigan.org/fall) predicted that peak fall color in the U.P., including Mackinac Island, is not expected to hit for about three weeks. Same with Alpena, Charlevoix and Ludington. Farther south, the show will come even later.