Not Your Tour Book Michigan

028-2Maybe I’m trying to do my mind-bending tricks – you know the ones. Where we make ourselves believe that things are better, easier, or okay when life isn’t really that good. We are back in Michigan for the holidays and the cold is really doing a number on my body so I’m being slowed down by that silly nondescript pain. And Michigan looks oh so much different than southern Florida. I have brought memories north – of walking out my door and picking a grapefriut and the hibiscus planted around the pool.

corners 014

But oh, how I love Michigan – even on the first of December. Since I have been seeing life through my camera lens, I have been trying to identify what it is that I love about Michigan at this time of year. The cold feels good. It isn’t so cold that it hurts my skin – just cold enough to make me feel alive and invigorated. It is a little sharp against my face.  But I can’t take a picture of that feeling.

I also love the flicker of light as I am driving down country roads lined with trees. The trees are bare and the sun is low in the sky, so no matter the time of day there are shadows across the roads. We don’t get much sun because the cold air picks up moisture as it travels across the warmer lakes – the flickering sunlight is a blessing. In Florida the blue sky and constant sun gets boring.

Thursday morning the sun was out and I took a drive in the country – on the roads that aren’t highlighted in the tour books. I took the country roads just south of where we live – the route we take when we go to Yukon Jack’s, the bar where we can get great fried fish and baked potato on a Thursday night. These are the country roads where traffic is light so I can pull over to take pictures. I was searching for the beautiful brown and tan and black and cream and taupe and splashes of green that make the winter landscape so beautiful. The stark lines of naked trees, the red barns, and blue ponds that now look so cold.

I was having a good time finding the images that I had in my mind until I got sidetracked. I saw some steer in a small field, close to the road, lounging around their water tank/cooler – probably gossiping about the farm down the road. I pulled over and jumped out of the truck with camera in hand. They immediately took an interest and lumbered up on their feet hoofs and started towards me.

Coming to Visit?

Now I’m not used to being charged by big animals with big horns but my gutsiness held in spite of my mounting anxiety and I just kept clicking as they got closer and closer. I think I had too much faith in the flimsy wire fence between us. However they seemed more curious than threatening as they approached – as if I know how to read bovine nonverbal behavior.

The Charge

This one is definitely the dominate one as he(it?) did most of the shoving to get close and gave me the “eye” to say back up a little – making sure I saw the horns. I wanted to reach over the fence to get some different angles but I refrained.

You can back up any time now.

And they did this “head lowering” move a couple of times that concerned me – especially when they also did some low-keyed snorting. Do you think this fence would hold an animal this big if it really wanted to charge me?

Head Down - Charge Warning? Do they respect a fence?

Long Horn

I think they just wanted to be friendly – this one wants to give me a little kiss on the cheek (I declined).

The Nosey One

After getting my photos, I started towards my vehicle and wouldn’t you know it, they followed me down the fence. Maybe they were just bored and I was a diversion from the same-old, same-old of eating and pooping.

country drive 066

About the time I was contemplating if I was lost and thinking about retracing my steps tracks, I saw this sign. I knew this farm was in the area and I needed to investigate.

I was able to find a few of these transplanted Texans in a field around the corner. They weren’t as friendly as the ones I met at the other farm. Do you think it is a bit of arrogance because of the extra long horns? After a quick look, they totally snubbed me. Not like any of the Texans I’ve ever met, who were very friendly and warm.

Transplanted Texans

Maybe they had learned not to approach the fence. I had a little bit of anxiety as I used the outer wire to steady my camera.

Electric Fences Make for Unneighborly Neighbors

I also had to pull into a drive to take a picture of this for Gary Schollmeier who loves to balance stones in the river bed. These were made from field stones. No shortage of these babies that were left behind by the glacier.

Fielstone Turtle

I understand that people come and get them in the counties that have lots of farms and then sell them for big money to people in Ann Arbor who use them for landscaping.

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14 Comments »

  1. Your photos are lovely Pat. We lived in Ann Arbor several years back and I loved the winter. A couple of autumns ago we spent much time in Michigan in the UP and fell in love with its beauty.

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    • Sounds like you have really nice memories. Winters in MI can be really nasty – but those slushy, damp, cold, dreary, dirty days allow us to appreciate and enjoy the beauty when it arrives. I absolutely love the changing of the seasons. Each season has it’s own smell and feel and visual beauty. Thanks for visiting my post and leaving your comment.

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  2. This is a wonderful post that takes me home; the images could easily be MN where I spent most of my life. You have me laughing, that you spotted the rock sculpture and thought of me. I am blushing that you have mentioned me in 2 posts, thank you very much.

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    • Thanks for the nice message. As I was doing it I was thinking that it also looks like WI & MN. We have a lot of lakes but I think MN has more. I was close to one of our lakes but on the wrong side so the sun was washing it out.
      Now, I didn’t say you are a rock-head or always stoned. I really enjoy your blog and am excited every time I see you have a new post.

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    • The longhorns were so much fun to photograph. It was almost as if they were pushing each other out of the way so I would take their picture. What a bunch of hams – no wait, that would be at the pig farm.

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      • I have seen the curiosity of cows in action. On a bicycle trip down the Oregon Coast, I had a flat tire, and when I stopped to change it, a whole herd of cows came over to watch. They quietly stuck their heads through the fence for a better view while chewing their cuds.

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  3. Welcome back to Michigan. We pass through Jackson on I-94 every time we come from Wyandotte after visiting my husband’s family or from West Bloomfield where I go to see my neurologist. We live on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, 70 miles west of Kalamazoo. I love the changing seasons too, and can put up with the Michigan winters or hot and humid summers because they don’t last. Your photographs are wonderful.

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    • Thanks for the friendly welcome back. And I’m happy you like the photos – they were fun to take and put together. I have been wanting to capture the beauty of our every day – even if we are kind of between seasons. Actually I guess this is early winter, followed by winter, then late winter. When we were here all winter, it did drag on for me. I really want some snow in the next 4 weeks.

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