I never get enough sky and water scenes. So many shades of blue, it's impossible to name them all. Cerulean, turquoise, azure, and many more. I try soaking them up as summer moves towards fall... before the blue on blue becomes gray on gray.
I love this time of summer when gardens bloom with so many varieties. I favor the delicate late season Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus blossoms, but all the bright colored beauties are attractive. Our growing season is so short in northwestern Lower Michigan, all we can do is enjoy them while we can.
One thing I enjoy about living in Traverse City is its proximity to other interesting places. Quaint towns, the Lakeshore, and two amazing peninsulas are all within an hour’s drive. On a recent visit to Charlevoix with a longtime friend from my teaching days, we saw the South Pier Light on Lake Michigan, Earl Young’s mushroom houses, and homes with beautiful gardens and unique house toppers. And we still had time for some shopping and lunch in the vibrant downtown.
On my way to Glen Haven, I passed the same marsh where I’d seen a Great Egret last May. It was now choked with lily pads, but was still a nice scene against the blue sky and tall dunes. And I lucked out seeing waterfowl again! One was a Great Blue Heron I caught fishing. The other was a Green Heron protesting my presence. What a great habitat this marsh is for seeing water birds!
It was a spur of the moment decision to catch the sunset so I headed to nearby Sunset Park on Front Street. What a shock to see the sun had moved south nearly even with the Delamar Hotel since the solstice June 21! Where had the summer gone? I moved on to a high spot on Old Mission for a better view. When I arrived, I could see clouds would obscure the sun’s definition. I decided to stay for the color show and to ponder how a summer could slip by so fast.
By this time of summer, hydrangeas are in full bloom and their colorful blossoms set off yards across the region. I’ve learned a lot about this flower as I’ve tried to grow them in my own garden. Whites are the most common and their color is genetically predetermined. The other colors are decided by the soil acidity. Pink varieties prefer alkaline soils and the blue to purple shades require the soil to be acidic. Besides a green thumb, you need some knowledge of soil pH to be successful in growing these beauties. I finally got blossoms for the first time this year.
The evening I returned to farm country, I saw three pairs of Sandhill Cranes. All appeared to be non-breeding, meaning they had no young ones. One pair was close to the roadside eating in a wheat field. A few days later, I saw a family with a youngster who was already quite large. The high point of the evening was when the cranes began to dance. Dancing facilitates pair bonding and pre-adult cranes practice dancing for years before selecting a mate. Parents educate their young by dancing with them. Amazing to watch!