Red, White and Blue — and Berries!

Northwoods Journal
Friday, July 4, 2014

I didn’t put the electric blanket back on the bed, but I did grab an extra quilt before we tucked ourselves in for the night, so I stayed cozy warm. The dogs let us sleep in till 8 o’clock, so they must have been worn out, too!

We woke to clear skies and the promise of a perfect day. This is the time of year when the sky here is such a vivid blue, it almost takes your breath away. There were a few more bird visitors today, including this mother and baby hairy woodpecker.

Mommy and baby hairy woodpecker.

Mommy and baby hairy woodpecker.

I’m not even attempting many bird photos as all my feeders are in deep shade thanks to the thick foliage. Other visitors included: white-breasted nuthatch, purple finch, chipping sparrow, mourning dove, blue jay, downy woodpecker, and that blasted robin that continues to try and build a nest above the deck.

Mark fired up his Coleman stove and made us French toast and sausage for breakfast. He laughed at the irony of making French toast on U.S. Independence Day. After breakfast we tackled the dishes that we left last night and then I heated another big pot of water for washing myself up.

While I was showering and getting dressed, Mark went out to begin dismantling the old metal shed. I’m not sure how that thing was even standing anymore, it was so rusted! A little while later he was sitting on the steps to the deck. I asked him if he was upset with me for taking so long to get around this morning. He said no, he was upset with himself. While taking apart the shed he had unknowingly destroyed a pee-wee nest that had babies in it. Mark likes people to think he’s cold-hearted, but he really isn’t when it comes to animals. (People are a different story.) We had to listen to the distressed pee-wee parents pee-wee-weeing the rest of the day, which was upsetting for both of us. I try to comfort myself with the fact that there are at least three other pee-wee nests in the roof rafters above the canoe, so it’s not like they are an endangered species. But still, we never like any harm to come to wildlife at our hands.

It was well after noon when we finally headed out to pick blueberries. We drove down to Elk Valley to the patch we found yesterday. It was very hot in the sun and I had not put sunscreen on, so I had to be careful that I didn’t burn into a krispy kritter. Wild blueberries are already fairly small compared to the domesticated varieties, add to that the fact that there were maybe only two or three ripe berries on a stem made picking even slower going as we had to be careful of the green ones. It was funny though, both of us commented that the berries seemed to be ripening as we picked. I was trying to be very methodical in the way I worked through the patch, but when I would turn around I would see more blue!

Yummy blueberries

Yummy blueberries

I see fields of blue...

I see fields of blue…

We ended up with a pretty decent haul for just over an hour’s work. I am definitely feeling my age more and more now. I used to be able to crawl around in the blueberry patch for hours on end. Not anymore! An hour into picking and I was moaning and groaning and feeling every ache and pain!

Our first haul.

Our first haul.

The high pressure system that brought us nice weather must have helped with the mosquitoes – they weren’t nearly as bad as yesterday – and we were able to eat our late lunch out on the deck. It was hot in the sun but cool in the shade. I needed a bit of recovery time before we took the dogs for a nice hike. Daisy – who thinks we only come up north for her – had been giving us the hairy eyeball all day. I had taken them for a short run up Steven’s Spring before we left for blueberry picking and it was obvious from her demeanor that she didn’t consider that a proper hike! I think she is the most expressive beagle we have ever had, she definitely has expressions of happy, depressed, sad, disgusted, etc. LOL
I suggested hiking along Blue Jay Trail since that is a fairly flat area and has a lot of shade. Of course, Mark drove all the way to the other end of Blue Jay Trail and the place he chose to hike went immediately uphill!

No, we didn't hike this whole thing. :)

No, we didn’t hike this whole thing. 🙂

Oh well, we had a very pleasant walk and even scared up two deer. We parked near a gas field that was filled to the brim with wildflowers. While Mark gave the dogs some water, I went back and took a few photos.

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch

Pretty yellow wildflowers - I'm not sure what these are.

Pretty yellow wildflowers – I’m not sure what these are.

The dogs were patiently waiting in the back of the FJ for Mom to finish playing around.

Hurry up, Mom!

Hurry up, Mom!

Getting back from our hike, we only had a little bit of time before heading into town for the 4th of July parade. There’s just something about a small town parade that makes you feel good!

IMG_0951 (1024x768)IMG_0966 (1024x768)(I took a lot of photos but I’m having trouble with our mi-fi internet thing, so I’m trying to hurry and get this posted while my signal holds.)

By the time we got back from the parade, we were both hungry. Mark built a fire, set up his tripod and grilled our surf-and-turf dinner. I cut up red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and fried a can of potatoes. We dined el-fresco with citronella candles burning for romantic ambience. Haha It was all delicious!

Delicious dinner cooking over the fire.

Delicious dinner cooking over the fire.

We took our time over dinner then tackled the dishes and just had time to run the dogs up the road for a bit more exercise (the deer flies were swarming something terrible!) before heading to the high school for the fireworks show. For a small town, Atlanta really outdoes itself with their fireworks display. I tried taking a few photos but even with the fireworks setting on my camera, I don’t quite have the knack yet. It didn’t have anything to do with not having a tripod, it was more about me being too slow to press the shutter button, I think. I got several clear photos of the end of the firework but not when it was at its peak. I finally put the camera away, figuring I was missing the show!

IMG_0980 (1024x768)
It was nearly 11 p.m. when we got home. Milo was patiently waiting by the cookie drawer. Cookie time for them is 9 o’clock, so he was two hours past his cookie and if there’s anything Milo knows, it’s when cookie time is!! Now it’s almost midnight. Time to crawl into bed. I’m too old for these late nights!

Happy Birthday, America!

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6 Responses to Red, White and Blue — and Berries!

  1. Bob Zeller says:

    Enjoyed your story again, and your photos, of course. Ann is from the northern part of the lower peninsula, too. She’s from Beulah, over south of Traverse City. Your tales bring back many memories. BTW, we learn from you. I picked up on when you mentioned in your previous about an Off clip-on. I ordered one for Ann. Here we are rarely bothered by Mosquitos, but sometimes after heavy rains (also very rare), we see a few and they really bother her.

    Keep your great adventure tales coming, and a belated Happy Fourth.

    P.S. My ongoing BP problems are with the changes in my meds. Can’t get used to them yet. Feeling light-headed all the time, so I have to see about another change soon. Otherwise all my other parts are working as advertised. LOL


    • I’m glad to hear you are feeling so much better, Bob! That thrills my heart! I have heard lots of things about BP meds and how difficult they can be to regulate and how tired they can make you feel, etc. I have several people in my family on them. I hope you start to adjust to them soon!

      So glad I can bring back good memories for you and Ann! We love the Off clip-ons. I’m not much on being covered in sticky spray and I think they work really well.


  2. avian101 says:

    I can see that your’ve been very active during our holiday, G-d bless you Amy, enjoy yourself. All that will give you great memories later on. 🙂


    • We do stay pretty busy when we are here, but I have to say I am slowing down a lot now that I am over 50! I need a lot more time to recuperate than I used to! 🙂 Have a great weekend, H.J!


  3. Sounds like a mighty fine day except for the bird nest. It’s probably too late, but a small box, and old shoe, or something could have been used to hold what was left of the nest together, and placed some place safe and out of the elements. The parents would find their young.


    • I’m not really sure what sort of state everything was in by time he discovered what he’d done. I did ask if there was any way to salvage it and he said no, so I’m thinking it must have been pretty bad. I didn’t ask for details and he didn’t offer any, but he was pretty upset so I’m thinking he killed them accidentally. 😦


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