Taking a rest

Apple Tree

I haven’t been saying much lately here, but I am writing and blogging a lot elsewhere.

Catch me 6 days a week on my photoblog Michigan in Pictures where I post photos and words about Michigan.  The blog is almost 8 years old and probably my favorite web project ever – I learn something new every week.

With my love Laura I started eatdrinkTC, a guide to the culinary culture of Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a ton of fun to work on and lets us share our love of good food and drink and the wonderful people in our town who make that happen. I even got to interview one of my very favorite food writers, Michael Ruhlman.

Let me know what you think (about anything) at these places or in the comments.

The photo was taken by my father of the apple tree in the back yard of the house I grew up in. 

Rex Dobson and the Ruby Ellen Farm

12-rex-hay

I just finished up the new website for the Rex Dobson Ruby Ellen Farm Foundation. It’s a 160-acre farm on the Leelanau Peninsula that was preserved in perpetuity by owner Rex Dobson. Rex was certainly an anomaly : a single farmer who was successful in what is definitely a family dominated field. What’s more, he was one of the pioneers of farmland preservation and collected a TON of farming artifacts.

One of the coolest things about the project is that I was able to bring back to the internet a video produced by my childhood friend and bad-ass photographer Carl Ganter (now the mastermind of Circle of Blue) called With These Hands. Rex had a starring role – enjoy!

Way out here in the Ghost Bowl

I just stumbled across this video of Greensky Bluegrass live at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon playing a beautiful version of Ghost Bowl with my good friends May Erlewine & Seth Bernard (who wrote the song).

I absolutely love this song, and I’m pretty sure this could be the state anthem of Michigan.  It’s a real treat as they roll into Jambalaya which does a great job of showcasing May.

March (Mercury) Madness: It’s almost like science fiction at this point

Bud Fun

Jeff Masters of Michigan-based Weather Underground is hands-down writing some of the best articles on the March Madness that we probably should be paying the most attention to, what he calls Summer in March:

A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday, during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.” A few of the more remarkable records from yesterday:

Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F
Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula is called “Michigan’s Icebox”, since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state, and in the entire nation. But the past five days, Pellston has set five consecutive records for hottest March day. Yesterday’s 85° reading broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by a ridiculous 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations
The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan was 52° yesterday, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date!

Read on for much more including Canadian cities breaking all-time records for March and April. Also definitely see his thoughts on the statistical likelihood of breaking 100+ year-old record highs this many days in a row. Hint: the answer sounds a lot like “climate change.”

The photo is Bud Fun by LadyDragonflyCC. She’s got some great stuff.

Seth & May on a WKAR Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass is a cool show that WKAR in Lansing produces. A great way to see a band and I just found some of my favorites – Samuel Seth Bernard and May Erlewine aka Seth & May. They’re joined by Mike Shimmin and the un-related duo from Steppin’ in It Dominick John Davis and Joshua Davis. Speaking of all of them, here’s a chance to win some free music through a new feature on Absolute Michigan called The Daily Michigan

 

Wally Bronner made it Christmas Always

Great video by Michigan’s own The Hard Lessons, their tribute to the man who made it Christmas always … in Frankenmuth at least. TIP: Sign up for their e-list and get their new album free!

I found when I was looking for something to add to Seeking Michigan’s From Signage to Santa that we featured on Absolute Michigan this week, so if you want to know more of the story, check it out.

Here’s wishing the best for you and yours. Love them, hug them and be with them because however long it is, it’s always far too brief!

 

Yes In My Backyard … Vote for the good guys (and gals)

Idiot brigade

Election day is tomorrow. Here in Traverse City, it’s pretty much a local affair, and if the stats that Gary Howe lists in Occupy This! Local Politics Need a Jolt of YIMBYism are any guide, voters will likely honor their amazing opportunity to shape their community by staying far away from the polls. Gary suggests that to counter the dominant “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) mentality, we need a younger YIMBY (Yes-in-my-backyard) electorate that is engaged in the most basic aspect of community democracy – voting. He highlights a telling stat:

The under 40 crowd represent 42% of the potential voters and only 6% of the 40 and under crowd cast a vote in 2009.

Put graphically:

That’s an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs that simply must change if we are to work our way out of the dark corners of climate change and vanished prosperity we find ourselves in globally, and also the challenges of re-designing our communities to meet the needs of the modern world locally. He explains that the under 40 bloc is critical because:

The under forty crowd is more enthused about collaboration over competition. They don’t start with “no” or by asking “how much?”. Instead, they are wired to find amicable solutions that make our community more inclusive and connected. The mantra is, “yes! Great idea, how do we make it better? Wouldn’t this be a great addition?” We trend towards the YIMBY. We need a touch of NIMBYism to balance that, but the current climate is out of balance.

In organizations/communities where negativity, or worse, indifference, is strongly perceived, YIMBYs lose enthusiasm and retreat. The otherwise neutral activity of politics is then tarnished and becomes something to avoid. Saved for a time, or age, when we simply want to protect something. The younger demographics, seeking a positive experience, are thus more prone to becoming disillusioned and disengaged. This is unfortunate because politics isn’t bad– bad politics is bad. And, it can be changed with numbers.

Here is a civic lesson: when you don’t like how something is proceeding, increase your numbers.

I’m a YIMBY and I vote. I will vote next Tuesday for the most immediate representation I have– City Commissioners. Please, do the same regardless of your age, but particularly if you are under forty in human years, dog years or simply in heart and mind. As a friend likes to respond to questions of age and voting, “I believe not enough people vote within any age bracket.” I appreciate her optimism that, “more people voting can only help the good guys.”

The photo is Idiot brigade by protohiro. He works at Flickr and you can see his most interesting photos on Flickriver.

Auroras Borealis, Australis and Michiganis

The Northern Lights went crazy last night over Michigan and the Michigan Northern Lights log that I created several years ago blew up as well with nearly 30 reports from all over the state of Michigan from the UP to the Michigan/Indiana state line.

It was pretty cool to see the reports pour in, not to mention to see the lights, even though they were trailing off when I was alerted. There’s a cool video from Michigan at that first link, and I also saw an amazing video from the ISS of the aurora australis (southern lights).