Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Somewhere Else

Boy, am I glad I left when I did.  While I was gone, Copper Harbor got more snow.  However, all evidence of that was gone by the time I got back.  Also, in ND and WI, I had three days of hanging out outside in short sleeves!  Talk about rejuvenation.  That was the ticket.

I haven't been out of the U.P. for quite a few months, so a variation of landscape, economy and dialect was much appreciated.  My parents' gardens are already blooming with a variety of flowers and vegetables.  The grass is so green and lush, I almost rolled around in it.  The North Dakota fields are black and wet.  And guess what I found on a little walk not far from my parents' house: a variety of blooming wildflowers!

The first one I spotted was the trillium -- a species I have yet to find in the Keweenaw.  I bet it's around somewhere, probably south of da Harbor.

A bouquet of trilliums

And I found some spring beauties.  Another one I don't see much of in da Harbor.

Spring beauties

And I found what I would think is an anemone, but I couldn't find the exact match in my Michigan Wildflower books.  Somewhere between the wood and the rue anemone according to the leaves.

An anemone of some sort

I also saw this little bugger that intrigued my mom and me.  Any Ideas?  The umbrella-like leaf got up to 6" in diameter on some plants.  What a neat specimen!

An, um, brella plant?

Spring wildflowers are special because they contrast so well against the brown leaves and remnants of last year.  Finding these plants was definitely a highlight of the trip.  I can't help it.  It makes me tick.

Let's go back to ND; I want to share some of their culture with you.  We mostly hung out in Hankinson, where the birthday party/reunion was held.  It's a small town where everybody knows everybody.  But they know the value of hard work, and they are down to earth.  I liked it.

They also have lots of railroads.  Here is a picture of one of the trains hauling 103 vessels of crude oil from the fracking lands.

One of many trains in ND

This picture is conveniently taken by, shall I guess, a corn mill?  It looks like those big silos would hold corn or some other widely harvested grain.  That was also a common site in the flat farmlands, along with the fields themselves.  It was neat to see how that is such the lifestyle there.  I never took it all in throughout my years there like I did on this trip.

And here's an example of a big agricultural machine.  I couldn't believe how big something with only one wheel in the front can be!

Big farm equipment!

I laughed at myself as I took pictures of their everyday life.  Yes, I was a tourist!

And now I'm back.  Of my time away, I spent 26 hours in the backseat with a large black dog.  Good thing I love the snot out of him.  He's a good travel buddy.

While I was gone, I figured two things would happen.  One, the Queen IV would return.  She did.  Safe and sound, and she already took her maiden voyage to the Island!  Two, I thought the bell buoy would return.  Nope.  Just fog horns on the Big Lake today.  I'll keep an eye out for that bloat, though.

Otherwise, more snow has melted, and more plants are budding out!  Somebody took a picture of hepatica from this spring, -- probably the first native wildflower to blossom here -- but I have yet to see it myself.  Today started so rainy that I didn't get out yet.  But I hear you can drive over Brockway Mountain now.  Probably up to Manganese Falls too.  See, that list of "Can't Do's" is getting shorter already!

Here's to a big weekend!  Here we go again...


  1. Your mystery umbrella plant is a May Apple. Podophyllum Peltatum

  2. In the south we call the unidentified plant May apple.

  3. The Um Brella plant is known as a May Apple around Wisconsin.

  4. It's called a Mayapple. We have lots of them here in Ohio. Love reading about your adventures!

  5. Wow, thanks everyone for your plant I.D. Looks like we have a match! Now I'll see if I can spot some of those around here!

  6. I see the plant is already ID'd -- local lore says when the May apple is opened up, it's time to hunt mushrooms (morels). I'm in Illinois.