Sunday, September 15, 2013


Well, we are back in the good ol' US after a rather rough journey. I took to the lower level and let Gary handle the boat.
We finally got one of the toilets fixed which meant we no longer needed to stay in a Marina so off we went. We spent the night eight nights ago on a creek so I had to put out the anchor. The anchor is electric and all I have to do is put my foot on a "down" button to release the anchor. Well, that's what I did, the anchor released, went down into the water accompanied by 25 feet of chain and vanished never to be seen again. We spent three hours the next day both in the dinghy and boat looking for it as the water was clear enough to see the bottom. No such luck. Luckily, we have a spare anchor but it is not as good as the one we lost. This puts a whole new meaning on the phrase "anchor's away"!!!
Last Saturday we visited Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island on Lake Michigan. The Island is accessible by ferry and boat only so we were recommended to take the ferry. The ferry boat was jet propelled and churned out spray at least 75 feet behind the boat.
This is a jet boat passing under the famous Mackinac Bridge. What is interesting about the Island is it is motor vehicle free. The only way to get around it is to use a bicycle or horse and carriage. I have never seen so many bicycles. The town I am from in the UK (Hull) used to be known for it's bicycles due to it being so flat. This Island had hundreds of them. You could rent tandems, tricycles, bikes with baby carriages etc..
We had lunch at The Carriage House, a restaurant over looking the lake. The reason we ate there was because it had a lovely garden surrounding it and, you know me and my flowers.

We toured the town in carriages drawn by a pair of horses and a trio of horses. Some of the horses had rubber horse shoes to help them grip the road and they only wore them on the front. I thought they were to lessen the noise of their hooves!!
The Island boasts a butterfly house which, of course I had to visit. I took many photos so have been picky with the ones I have chosen to put in the blog.
The above photo is of the underside of the butterfly below. I thought it looked like an owl. I have a funny story to tell about it. I was photographing the underside of the butterfly with a man and a women stood next to me also taking a photo. The lady commented that she had watched the butterfly for a while and it had never moved so must be dead. They left me to take some other photo elsewhere. I wanted to see what the top side of the butterfly looked like so gently flipped him over and it revealed what you see below. He wasn't quite dead but was on his way to butterfly heaven, if you get my drift. I took my photo and moved onto something else. The next thing I knew was the lady calling me to come and see "our" butterfly. She stated so excitedly that he was alive because look - he had turned himself over. I did not have the heart to tell her that I did it so I agreed with her and walked away.

I like the above photo because it shows the butterfly's tongue, which I never expected to be red.
The Island has a hotel "The Grand" made famous by Jane Seymour and Christopher Reid in a movie called "Somewhere in Time". The hotel charges $300-$600 and up per night for a room. Each of the 300 plus rooms are decorated differently and boy are they nicely done. No, we did not stay there, I "Googled" the hotel.
We are now in Escanaba, MI due to very high winds. We tried to leave today (Saturday, 14th) but had to return to the marina because the waves were too high. We have just spent 4 days in Fayette State Park due to poor Gary having severe abdominal pains. I was concerned that he had appendicitis but it turned out to be a kidney stone. The Marina at the park was 38 miles from the hospital and we had no phone or e-mail coverage due to being in the boonies. Luckily, when I went to find a way to the road I ran into the park Supervisor, Randy Brown who called for an ambulance for me. Randy was kind and caring and asked me to keep him informed on how Gary was. He, in turn said he would keep an eye on the boat for us. The hospital kept Gary in overnight and let me "sleep" on a recliner in Gary's room. The county's transit service gave us a ride back to the boat. We are still awaiting the arrival or should I say, departure of the trouble maker. I tried singing the Rolling Stones' song "I can't get no satisfaction" to Gary but it did not seem to help!!!!
Fayette State Park was the site of a charcoal iron smelter in the late 1800s. The area has many of the buildings preserved which can be entered to see how life was in the 19th century.
This was a view of the smelter. Whilst wandering around I came across this little fellow - I did not try to pick him up as they have quite a bite and won't let go. I know this from past experience.
I also took some photos of the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar feeding on Milkweed.
After they have finished chomping all that is left of the plant is:

I am going to finish with some photos of the Queen Anne's Lace weed. We take so much for granted in the world around us. For some reason this plant spiked my interest. The immature flower is home to insects seeking shelter, the underside of the mature flower is an intricate pattern of leaves and flowers and the mature flower is so delicate that it was aptly named "lace". The plant was introduced from Europe and is nicknamed "wild carrot". The carrots we eat today were once cultivated from this plant. The leaves are toxic and can cause skin irritation.
The immature plant looks like a bird's nest. The photo below has an earwig sheltering in the middle.
I just loved the underside of the flower. I do not know why I turned it upside down but was delighted with the delicate arrangement of leaves and flowers.
Finally, the flower itself.
Beauty is all around us in places we may not expect. Look for beauty in places you would not imagine and you may find it.

Queen Anne's Lace, also called "Wild Carrot," is a common plant in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. It was introduced from Europe, and the carrots that we eat today were once cultivated from this plant.
Queen Anne's Lace, also called "Wild Carrot," is a common plant in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. It was introduced from Europe, and the carrots that we eat today were once cultivated from this plant.Queen Anne's Lace, also called "Wild Carrot," is a common plant in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. It was introduced from Europe, and the carrots that we eat today were once cultivated from this plant.

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