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The Smaller Parts of Fall

Did you make it?

Did you get to the Keweenaw for the fall colors?  They were spectacular!  (And many are still hanging on!)

Whether you made it or missed it this year, chances are you were focused on the tree lines.  Florescent maples and rich oaks.  Bright aspens and golden birches.  This valley and that ridge, etc.

But did you stop to look at the smaller things that fall brings?

Not really???

Well, then.  Let’s do it!

Mushrooms among the pipsissewa and moss

 

Glistening choke cherries

 

Large leaved aster flowers

 

Dew-covered aster leaf

 

Mottled thimbleberry leaf

 

Wild rose hip

 

Bilberry bush

Not too shabby, Mother Nature!

We’ve got to savor every little bit of it while we can because, well, we know what comes next.  See you then!




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Color Season Update #1

If you live far away from Copper Harbor, and you’re planning a fall trip to look at the colors then you are probably not sleeping at night.

You lie awake, stare at the ceiling, listen to your partner (or pet) snore and wonder: When are the colors going to peak?  When is the best time for me to go north???

Well, stress no more.

I can’t promise that this post will help you sleep better, but it will show you, in almost real time, how the leaves are looking right now.

Let’s cut to it.

Brockway Mountain

On Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, I drove over Brockway Mountain to get the palate.  Here it is:

From the West Bluff of Brockway Mountain looking southeast into the valley.

 

From the Nose of Brockway Mountain looking east over the town of Copper Harbor.

Covered Stretch

Now let’s talk about the Covered Stretch on Highway 41.  The maples are going off.  Fuchsias, tangerines, lemony yellows and plum purples highlight the way.  A few of the trees are already dropping leaves, but there is plenty of color left once the birches, aspens and oaks turn.

A primo spot on the Covered Stretch

The local report proclaims the leaves are 40-50% changed on this stretch of highway, and the norther you get, the greener they look.

Lake Manganese

Here are two photos of Lake Manganese from Thursday, September 26, 2019.

From Manganese Beach looking south

 

From Manganese Beach looking west

The verdict?  It’s totally up to you!  Judge for yourself!

I’d give it another two weeks if you want to see Brockway Valley all lit up.  Of course, anything can happen in that time.  I mean, it could snow!

Here is a link to the Upper Peninsula Color Report on Facebook.  They are constantly updating throughout the U.P.  I will post pictures here the next two Fridays.

And just so you know, Mount Bohemia is running their chairlifts the first two weekends in October.

Well, hope this helps!  Now if you can only get your dog to stop snoring!




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Garden Harvest Moon

We are celebrating this year’s harvest moon with an introduction to a uniquely abundant place right in Copper Harbor!

Let’s learn a little bit about the history.  Then we’ll go inside!

History

As you can tell from the sign, this community garden started the summer of 2014.  The purpose was to give residents who don’t have a place for a garden, well, a place for a garden!  This space is surrounded by a six foot tall fence to keep out the deer and other hungry animal.  It’s divided into plots for each of the participating residents to work and harvest vegetables for personal use.

This luxurious black soil holds plants for just over a dozen grateful locals.  Each plot worker tends to their own spot, and it goes something like this once June hits:

  • The garden has been tilled and it’s dry enough to work!  Time to get out there before the blackflies do!
  • Using anything from hand tools to bare hands, tenders pick rock, turn soil and pull any organic matter from last year.
  • Each worker plans their plot, plants the seeds and waters the earth.
  • They must then water it pretty much every day for at least two weeks.
  • Then the bugs come out to chew up the workers while the workers diligently pull the tiniest of weeds, usually crab grass and purslane.  Cutworms eat many of the small cruciferous vegetation, and the people swear when they see their cauliflower is gone… again.
  • They keep watering and getting bitten by bugs in the glorious sunshine.
  • Soon the seeds they planted are bigger than the weeds that keep coming back!
  • Now they can eat some salad greens, and watch the rest grow!
  • Etcetera, etcetera.  It’s a garden!  And it’s time to harvest!

Why was this particular spot chosen?

Well, remember how that sign says Fort Wilkins?  Rumor has it that this was the same site that used to grow carrots and potatoes for the settlers at Fort Wilkins back in the 1840’s!

Root vegetables grow amazing in that soil, that’s for sure.  And the master of the land said, “They said it was on the west end of Lake Fanny Hooe.  If you stand back in the lounge area on the south side of the garden, you can see the swales of the land.  And when I dug the area back up, I stopped when I hit a big underground rock wall, so I’m assuming that’s where they threw all their rocks!”

Pretty cool, hey?

Thank you settlers who started it 170 years ago!  And thank you to the property owners who allow the townsfolk to use the land.  And one more huge thank you to Clyde who does all the tilling and maintaining of that whole area behind the trail head.

Tour

Are you curious how to get there?  Let’s go!

Start at the trail head by the Copper Harbor Welcome Center.  The bike path scoots to the right, but the garden path (now appropriately named) goes straight back.  Foot traffic only!

Take that path, and after it curves to the right, you’ll see the garden on your left.  Want to go in and walk around with me?  Leave your pet outside the fence, please.

Open the latch through this door! But please lock it on your way out.

Meet the trusty water pump.  It pulls the water from a nearby frog pond, and the tenders water using actual watering cans.

Here’s a view of most of the garden space, looking west.

And look!  There’s Marty!  One of the most diligent tenders.  He just got done watering his onions.  That’s a devoted gardener for you!

Now let’s get our noses right into those beautiful plants.  It might seem surprising, but vegetables actually grow in Copper Harbor!

Vegetables

Peppers

 

A big ol’ cabbage

 

Cucumber

 

Onions

 

Beets

 

Broccoli

Doesn’t that look delicious?  Well, you’ll have to start your own garden, or make friends with one of the locals with a plot.  Sorry to tease you, but now you know that we can truly celebrate this harvest moon with the fruits of our labor!




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