Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kayaking the White River

My daughter has signed up to run a triathlon which includes kayaking.
So we decided she'd better get conditioned for her race.
 Kayaks loaded & ready to go.

 And we are off.
 We had fun!

Halfway through, we switched kayaks, so she could decide which one would work best in a race.
 Here we are approaching the last remaining covered bridge in our county.

 We saw lots of wildlife

 This spot had 20 turtles.  
I think a few had jumped in by the time I snapped the photo.
I can only count 17.

 We were watched closely by the local residents 

And my hubby snapped some shots of us from the bridge.

Paddling down the lazy river.
 This is a neat prospective.

What a perfect day for a float.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Orphan Opossum

While on my morning walk,
I came across this little guy laying on the trail.

He was cold, wet & limp, but breathing
so I cupped him in my hands and took him home.

Hypothermia is a big killer of baby possums, but once I got him warmed up
he was a little more alert.
His little prehensile tail would wrap around my finger.
I talked to a wildlife rehabber who said he'd probably fallen off of mom unnoticed
 and most likely wouldn't have survived.

She agreed to take him, raise him and release him when he's old enough.
Whew, that was a close call.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby Wrens

All winter long,  a pair of Carolina wrens have roosted in the barn every night,
chirping and serenading me as I cleaned stalls in the morning.
I guess the digs were nice enough to raise a family
 because they built a nest in the garage door opener in the barn.

A few days ago, the chicks fledged.

Baby wrens were hopping all over the barn.

The parents were furiously trying to lure them outside, 
but the babies stayed near the only safe place they had ever known.
They finally made it outside,
 and after sitting in a windowsill for a while, this one flew off into the trees.

So long , little guy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Holland State Park & Ottawa Beach Michigan

Our trip to Michigan included camping at Holland State Park.
Its a nice park sandwiched between Lake Macatawa & Lake Michigan.

The park offers more than just a beach with camping, hiking, fishing & views of the Big Red Lighthouse.

There are 2 campgrounds, one on the beach, aptly named Lake Michigan Campground 
and one on the other side of the dune called Lake Macatawa.
We camped in the latter which had wonderful pine trees and a brand new restroom.

If you want to stretch your legs, there is a trail over the dune
 which connects to the Mt. Pisgah dune stairway and Overlook.
(The dune is called Mt. Pisgah, but its a stretch calling it a mountain.)

The stairway is over 200 steps up from Ottawa Beach Road,
but accessing from the state park trail, its very do-able and you bypass the stairs.
However, you might want to go down and visit Dune Dogs on the street below
 where you can indulge in an ice cream cone or Chicago dog.

 The view from Mt. Pisgah overlook features the lighthouse & beach facing west

And Lake Macatawa facing east.
On one of the most enjoyable walks we took, we discovered the Ottawa Beach Historic area.
It features cottages built along the side of the dune with only boardwalk access.
There was a large parking lot with an assortment of carts which the owners used to tote their groceries & vacation clothing to their cottages.
 The boardwalk formed a loop with upper cottages perched above the lower ones.
Former president Gerald Ford's family had a cottage here.
We didn't know which one until we googled it back at camp, so I didn't get a photo of it.
I expected it to be one of the more elaborate homes, but it was surprisingly modest.

 The cottages had beach access where the boardwalk ran closest to the great lake.

Perfect for viewing the sunset.

Holland State Park offers a little bit of everything Michigan.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Volksparade

Tulip Time Festival has three parades celebrating Dutch heritage.
The first is the Volksparade - the parade of the common people.
Prior to the parade, the townsfolk, dressed in dutch costumes.
scrub the street until it is "dutch clean"

The colorful costumes and darling children
 make the street scrubbers as much fun to watch as the parade itself.

  Street scrubbing is serious business

Dutch kids learn early how to use a broom!
 Finally the parade begins

 There are floats,

Marching bands,

 Baton twirlers,

And lots of wooden shoes

The Holland High school band marched and danced in wooden shoes.
That's no easy feat for the feet!

It was a klompen good time!

Tulip Time Festival

Every May, the town of Holland Michigan celebrates
 its Dutch heritage with the Tulip Time Festival.
Being of Dutch descent myself, I attended when I was child
and wanted to go back as an adult and relive the memories. 
The festival didn't disappoint!
The whole town gets involved and the residents dress in dutch costumes.

And there are Dutch Dancers in the parks.

Holland has it own authentic working windmill.
This is DeZwaan (the swan), one of the last windmills exported from the Netherlands.

 And, of course, there are tulips.

As in over 6 million planted all over the city!